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  CSPAN    Politics Public Policy Today    News/Business.  

    March 22, 2013
    10:30 - 6:00am EDT  

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issues of our day in two and half days? the house was in session for 11 and half days in february. there are ways to make the elected officials accountable here and now. then we're talking about redistricting commissions, which i think should be independent. open primaries i think are crucial. we should have biannul budgets. the idea of no budget no pay. the list goes on. i can name some others too. >> before we go on to the rest of the panelists i already messed up my duties. we're going to put on the screen now the first poll question of the afternoon that we're going to put to our television and our online audience. the question is, is the congress envisioned by our founders still able to meet the changing needs
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of our country? the key word is able to meet the changing needs of our country. i think we get a strong vote no. but we ask for those watching at home to vote and see if congress is able to immediate those -- meet those needs. we're being live streamed on the policy center website. or you can tweet us husing the hashtag engage u.s.a. later in the program i will read your twitter comments. first i want to get back to our panel. i want to go to senator daschle. senator snow laid out a range of useful reforms but she said something that struck me and i'm paraphrasing. she said it hasn't always been
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like this. in the past there has been a way for leaders and members of both parties to get along despite of their differences. you and i were joking backstage that when you said majority leader, congress functioned perfectly, like a well-running clock. no one ever disagreed on anything and it was all comedy. i might be exaggerating slightly. but in all seriousness that the challenges of the government, which will are always going to exist. they seem to be more difficult than they were a decade ago. i am wondering if you can talk about what changed and what can reverse those trends. >> had is my story and i'm sticking to it, that things were perfect. partly, we were dealt with a series of crisis and we had an impeachment crisis, we had the
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9/11 attack, we an anthrax attack in my office. when you have crisis like that it brings people together. partly it was the environment and the sicks that we had to confront -- circumstances that we had to cold front. as nk what has changed is she said we would work longer weeks and people were there for longer periods of time. the venues for communication were at hand. she will remember this well. we used to have two lunch tables that were just for senators and you sit family style. people would have lunch together. for whatever reason that lunchroom was closed. we used to have social events where we getting together and one was around our spouses and we would salute our spouses.
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we would do things like that. people now leave washington more routinely on thursday or fridays and they don't come back until monday or tuesday. you are left to combovepb on wednesday. you condition govern a country as big and sophisticated a this is. they were in session for 11 days in february. partly, we have to ground the airplane. you have to stay here. i like the suggestion that maybe what we out to do is have blocks of time where you don't go home. you're there from january to june then maybe come back in august and try to work through november or something. but you have big blocks of time where you actually going to stay there. i think what happens then, the socializing would start over again. we would be able to do things where we create those enviews for communication that unfortunately -- those views of
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communication and fortunately it will lead to enactment of legislation. it has to start with finding better ways with people being able to create communication and that has been lost. >> a fascinating point and i hope to explore it further. what the senator is talking about is changing rules can have some benefit. redistricting, policy reform. be what i hear you is getting people to know each other and respect each other even though they don't agree on everything. congressman cox you traveled from washington, d.c. to california and it probably took you longer to get your home district to washington than any other member of congress. senator daschle raises a point
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here. instead of a tuesday morning to thursday afternoon schedule, what if congress stayed in session for four, three weeks of the month then had the last week of the month back in the district. you get the same amount of time with your constituents that would but less time at l.a.x. and dulles airport. does that make sense or are there other ways that you can suggest that you get people from different sides to work together better? >> i agree with the objective. you need people around in order to talk to one another. if you've ever been in the ongress, in the house or the senate, it is fascinating if you've been an intern or know something about it to look on
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the floor. it looks like people milling around at a cocktail party. what is going on is different by lateral or multilateral transactions. it would be fascinating thing for a political sciencist because they are really exploring these issues to somehow capture these conversations and map it to see how much is getting done. it can't happen if people aren't there. i want to observe something else and that is this hyper-partisanship that we're discussing here today. it isn't limited to congress. it isn't just about the limitations of the rules or the schedule that congress follows. it's going on across the country. ere is a fascinating study that asks adults throughout america, would you be concerned
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if your child married someone of the opposite political party, if your a a republican and they are a democrat? this question was asked in 1960 and then again in 2010. 1960, less than 5% would be concerned. in 2010, 40% said they would not want this to happen. you can overlay this on another set of questions that has been asked for a long time about race and ethnicity. would you be concerned if your child married someone of a different racial group? 5% said theys only would be uncomfortable. today, 86% says we're comfortable with this. what you see is happening that the nation is more tolerant of diversity and one another in a
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social sense but politically we're more intolerant that we've ever been before. this is something that members of congress deal with because they come from this country. we've got to deal with this as a society as well as the institution of congress. it starts with the lack of stability that has been introduced into the discourse about political matters through he proliferation of unminded and i'm sure there will be more time to talk about this. it is not all about congress. congress, in order to work they have to realize this and work to get themselves out of that bind. >> i think that is absolutely a dead-on point. it is critically important.
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a "new york times" columnist talks about the me network. that in this day and age every single one of us can construct an information environment that only reinforces that what we already believe. if you think about to his point, it is human nature. i want to reach out to the smartest people in the world. i want to listen to the smartest people, i want to engage the smartest people. who are the smartest people? the people who agree with me. depend on who you are they hang out on fox news or msnbc but really on both. congress makes a point that creates a particular challenge for members of congress. i'm going to come to congressman gonzalez on this. governor, governor schwarzenegger he says that most
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people have strong beliefs and that is how it should be. but it is the leaders who should be able to reach across the aisle and found ways to compromise. .e live in an ipod nation how much harder does it make it for congress to reach out across party lines given those challenges? what else can be done to make that challenge less onerous? >> that was reflecting the mood of our constituents and what is going on out there. my belief, in american society is under going tremendous transformation and change at a time where we have downward economic mobility. that is a dangerous mix. we have not done a good job with being leaders.
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many times when they lead, the result they are no longer in a leadership position. whether that is the way congress works or your defeated on an issue. -- it isonpartisanship about bipartisanship. i'm always going to be a democrat. when i was born i was baptized as a democrat. i swear to god. that is not going to change. forget about the political consequence of taking a position that may or may not cost you the election, we can talk about that. but we had a long discussion last night. i truly believe in the house -- i only speak for the house. i have no idea what goes on in the senate. only what i read. the question comes down to committees. i served on financial services.
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i got to serve under a couple of chairs. it is totally different. i'm on energy and commerce now. it was the inclusion of the minority and the legislative process and it was the committee level that you establish your relationships. i know if we spend more or less time in washington nothing is going to work unless we come together at those times when we get to know one another. in my opinion, that is at the committee level. if we can do something and work something there -- i'm not sure how leadership exerts its influence on chairs and ranking members of committees and sub committees. but there lies the answer. i think it is a tremendous strength and i've always been hopeful that the chairs and the ranking members would understand the importance of including the minority. you know what happens, when you're the majority you're going to win every one of the votes.
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that is the way it was. but things change drastically. i think that is one of the answers. i don't think we're going to get away from being partisan. the question is, your willingness to compromise. that's it. and you will survive an election because you compromised. i always say, the author of that book he couldn't write that book today because he would not have that subject. you get defeated in a procedural vote. >> thank you, congressman. that is a critical point the distinct between nonpartisan and bipartisan. someone says lower taxes, no big deal. amnesty, whatever. i think that is a critically important one.
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it is not about people abanding their principles but finding a way to work together on a common ground. >> i was just a house member. it is fine if you want to put me there. >> if anybody would like a promotion let us know we have nother half an hour. congressman, members of congress get elected to represent a district. should anyone want to about redistricting and about show many states that if you're elected that are overwhelming republican or democrat that you're never going to lose that seat. unless you compromise on the other side of the aisle but remarkably get elected by the
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entire country. so the president of the united states republican or democrat, it seems to be and i know you have thought a lot about give your time in the tab cabinet. the president of the united states has a unique role to reach out to both sides. without getting into a current evens debate, i think we can agree the president in which this library was named, president reagan, and the last stop of this tour, president kennedy, both had the ability for presidents strong characteristics to work across the party lines. talk about your previous in the house and the role that the president can play in congress about the challenges.
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>> i think sometimes we focus on the congress and half the government is the executive branch, taking the court oust of it. you can't talk about the operation of congress without looking at the whole government and that includes the president of the united states. his or her role is key in all of this. some of you saw the movie "lincoln" you saw how lincoln wanted to get the 13th amendment passed. he knew he had to manipulate, bribe, which we can't do today and otherwise, try to persuade the congress to go along with him. you remember the scene where he sends his aide out and he finds the guy a post matter of factship to if he votes his way. that fellow votes with the president. i guess my point is this is the role of the executive branch, particularly in the modern world
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with all the complex problems we have are so critically important. only the president represents all the people and the president is the one that proposes and the congress disposed. you have to have refined presidential engagement. you talked about the fact that president reagan did this, president johnson did this as good as anybody, and my judgment president clinton did this remarkably well. i think president obama is getting better. today, he's meeting with 13 senators at the jefferson hotel in washington. maybe that will help our conference move along. but it is -- it is tough because -- i want to mention one other thing. it is tough because it is harder to deal with the congress and sometimes it is unpleasant to deal with the congress. but there is no other choice. the president must engage and it
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is a learning experience. one other issues i wanted to raise quickly. another factor and charlly talked about this. -- charlie talked about this. it was easier to work together. look at what they are dealing with, sequester, cutting, how do we cut medicare? when are we going to cut social security? how do we get the budget down? >> these what i call tough -- almost impossiblely difficult positions to take. in an environment where everything is reducing, cutting, it is not natch for people to enjoy doing the job under those circumstances. they don't feel positive to each other and friendly to reach out for common ground. ic that is another factor and
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why it is so difficult for people to getting together. >> thank you. everend i'm coming to you last -- >> the the last should be first and the first should be last. >> i had the honor of attending years ago.ation 13 i think your perspective is important to take this conversation to a broader level. the point that stuck with me is holding politicians accountable. several of the people we heard by twitter have made that point, whether it is through social networking or other means, making sure that the elected representatives make sure they representative. you left congress because you
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thought there was a better way for you to make a difference. from everything i've seen and read, part of that is making sure that your members understand they play a vital elected olding their officials they need to hold their -- them responsible. someone who has all these obligations in life, that politics is too important to be left to the politicians and they need to be involved too. >> i think it started not from where i came to politics but where i came from the early stages of my life. that is dealing with the reality that relationship matters and that concept of relationship matters and congress was helpful to me. when i had an issue it was general a means -- it brought me to a place where i had to talk
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to other congress people, i had a part in trying to deal with the savings and loans crisis, it was under my sub committee. i realized it was a major challenge. i realized i could not do it alone and a lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle had issues in relationship how the process was going to work. but because i think chris and others would say, when i came into the house i greeted everyone, i shaked everyone's hands. by the time you get to the problem, you ought to have a means by which you know the people you have a good relationship with. so you move with those people. i don't see that happening in the congress today. there is not that kind of relationship and further more, we had our thursday group where we met, republicans, democrats, we had our own little worship
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service every thursday morning. democrats came, republicans came, we got to know each other. so whenever an issue came up whether it was brought by a democrat or republican, it didn't matter. what mattered was we understand that we knew we had someone to talk to on the other side and that person on the other side would agree with what we were trying to to do, especially if they had a piece of legislation hey were working on or anticipating it coming before them. when you lose that concept of relationship, whether it is business, politics, whether it is in anything, you lose that ability to have that support system available to you. i think that is one of the things that many of the younger democrats and republicans that i see coming into congress, they are coming wrong. they don't have the background skills that gives them the
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capability to understand that we're in this thing together. had to my life i've manage people and managing people, the first thing you learn, the only way you success, is you get people on -- sucked is that you get people -- succeed is that you get people on your side. >> we've gotten several questions via twitter. the one i had picked out is that several of our panelists have answered. what role does civilty play in getting the two sides of congress -- each of our panelists have addressed that in a slightly different way. if we can put up the answers to our poll question. is the congress envisioned by our founders able to meet the
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needs of our country yes or no? yes, 49%, no, 51%. if i was still in politics i would call for a revote. what seems to me is that the country is split. in other words, hopeful but skeptical. hopeful that we can do better but skept tall that the elected officials can. i'm goinged do a lightning round. i'm going ask another question from twitter. michael s. asks, what are the one or two top actions we can take to restore a competent government? every one of you has talked about trust, the role of the voters, the role of the executive, when it comes to nuts and bolts changes.
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changing rules having an incentive, i wonder if anyone change. a statutery that is a question, i will open up to the floor. >> i'll start. i talk ad lib about this already. i would say that the two things that would have the biggest impact would be the money chase and how much time we spend trying to raise money and how much time away that takes us from the legislative process. then i think the way we -- the primary system today and affect it has on members. you know, we've created an intimidation that is concerning to a lot of members. they are worried about losing a primary, not a general but losing a primary. if i'm going to address the
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environment, it would be the money and the way we elect our people in the primary process today. primaries means redistricting reform. many, many years ago in 1999 i worked for the presidential campaign for senator john mccain. what i learned is with if you take the words campaign finance reform, you can take the most hypercaffeinated politically obsessed in the world and put them to sleep. we learned the word redistricting is the way to accomplish the same thing. this is not the kind of thing that voters wake up thinking about. they think about their hildren's schools jobs, how do you get people -- how do you get
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voters to focus on something that sounds like inside baseball but has the affect that senator daschle is talking about? >> one way is to let everything go to hell like it is right now. then people will say how come we're not fixing this? to provide a bookend to focus on campaign money that candidates have to raise, we can focus on what dan mentioned, which is the people's money. congress is responsible for appropriating and spending and budgeting. the government might not be responsible for everything but they are certainly responsible for our money. they make it. they are responsible for a locating for what they collect from taxpayers. as he said, rationing is a painful thing that putting everybody at odds with one
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another. the process can help you. you ask what kind of nuts and bolts, rules we can put in place? we're operating on a budget process that was implemented in 1974. whether it was suited at the time, other people can argue. it doesn't work. it is badly broken. republicans and democrats baptized that way principled and not going to change ought to disagree about what our priorities for spending are but not about whether we're going to spend money we don't have. we need a budget process to force those choices and let people vote on which ones went. we don't have that right now. >> to follow-up having competitive primaries is critical. other than left has no choice other than those candidates who are on the right or the left.
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so they take that previous and frame of reference to both the house, the jites senate, therefore, you can't get people to realign and work together and solve problems. it is one thing to have the party position's out there and if they are not willing to move forward, try to modify the legislation, reconcile the differences, you cannot move legislation forward, and if we cannot move the country forward. the whole budget process. it is exhibit a under dysfunction. in the senate, and a sense that we have not had a budget in three years. that enforces discipline. we are required by law and the budget resolution, a statutory requirement by april 15, and we have ignored it for three consecutive years. that has to happen. it is not as if we have been overwhelmed in the past with
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our schedule. i mentioned that this morning. the only thing that was predictable was our recess scheduled. we had sufficient time to ddress these issues. once you lose the discipline on that factor, you lose your discipline on everything else. the idea of no budget, no pay, which is endorsed, hopefully goes forward, it is one way of forcing the accountability on the part of elected officials. but it has to happen. people should demand that they are there five days a week, and as tom was saying, a certain senate when tom was majority and minority leaders, and we had a 50-50 senate in 2001. and the tie was broken by vice president cheney. we got through it. there were a lot of bipartisan initiatives. e did a great job.
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we confuse our differences and we cannot do that anymore. i think that we have to return o the basic and demand that. on thursday, you could smell the jet fumes and everybody is out of town. >> for our guests and audience, i will put in a quick advertisement for california's redistricting reform which has taken steps to create competitive districts that our panelists have talked about. also the primary, which sends the top two vote-getters on to the general election time regardless of party. this creates the kind of competitive elections and accountability our panelists have talked about. learly, a not very thrilling
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conversation for someone who does not obsess about politics to come to the reagan library in the middle week to hear a conversation like this one, but ritical changes in the rules that can ultimately create accountability we have talked about. we can go to audience questions in a few minutes, but a few of our panelists have not had a chance to weigh in on a uestion from twitter about structural or statutory change that might be made to encourage cooperation. any thoughts? >> the person is posing the question feels that there is a rocedural rules that we can do nd how we operate in the house
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and senate that suddenly will make it a place where maybe there will be compromise and here will be consensus uilding. in the house i go back to our committee structure, but i would like to turn that around and ask the electorate and that particular individual who submitted the question to empower their representative to be flexible, to compromise, and not pay the big price of the primary. that is what i see on the house side, no flexibility, no wiggle room. they were collected saying a certain thing and when they get there they have to be 100% pure on that issue, even if it is just that one issue. >> if you think about it from a clinical cost-benefits point, being intractable and inflexible and unwilling to compromise under any circumstances is a smart career move. >> it will get you reelected. members -- you would be surprised in conversations you have, because the sense is that
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aybe if you enjoy a better relationship, but even with that, they still have to go back and there will still be a primary, and we know how that works. it is a question about maybe the voter being somewhat -- i do not want to be better educated, but you understand that an effective member has to negotiate and has to compromise to come to some sort of final product. otherwise you will never get a final product. >> i agree with -- what is the biggest problem we face today? it is this fiscal crisis, the budget. families are looking at it and saying i have got to deal with this all the time, and you guys cannot deal with it.
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the biggest thing to me would be the leadership of congress to recognize that the budget process has to be utilized in a way that gets this issue resolved, because if we go every three months with more indecision and 11th-hour -- january 2 decision-making, the frustration that people have to live their lives and cannot figure out the process, it will drive them nuts and create the most negative feelings in the world. t is the responsibility of leadership to make this process work, and they have to act like leaders, like tom daschle did and some of the other folks. >> changing the rules might change the incentive structure, but ultimately is about the men and women who go to washington. >> i would like to add on something that olympia and dan had said, that budget process is completely broken. there are three layers. irst, there is the budget, then the authorizing, and the appropriation process, and none of those are working today.
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we hardly ever pass anything authorizing. we have to have a major reform of the way we make budgetary decisions, because that process is now so encumbered. olympia mentioned this morning and it bears repeating, we have to go to a two-year budget cycle. we cannot do a multi-trillion-dollar budget nd a couple of months, especially if you are only there on wednesday. we have to have more opportunity to think more carefully and constructively, and that takes a two-year cycle. i think the time has come for us to go to back something that was mentioned. in the 1970's we changed it, nd we got to go back and
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streamlined the process a lot more. >> it is a great point, and we slipped past chris' suggestion. if ford and general motors made cars to the way they did in the early 1970's, that would be a problem. before reagan had run for president in 1980 on tom dewey's platform, if bill clinton had run for president on adlai stevenson's platform, these would not have worked so ell. >> ronald reagan faced these challenges because he had to deal with a badly broken budget process that was a product of the 1974 act. one of my responsibilities was to draft the decision for reagan called the budget process reform act that would eal with these things. i introduced it.
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we had over 200 sponsors. we had a bipartisan sponsorship in the senate. as you can see from problems we are experiencing, the process has never changed. if you want to find something that is capable of being completely bipartisan, multi-partisan, omni-partisan, it is fixing the budget process in a neutral way, because once you subtract everybody's passionate ideology, it is easier to come to agreement about putting a whole thing in a box and making sure there are priorities. making sure the system has teeth, because the big problem is you can blow off the process and people do. >> we started a few minutes ate, so we have time for audience questions. if anybody has a question, please raise your hand. i will ask the same thing of you, that when you stand,
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identify yourself, and if you have a question for someone with whom you might disagree, we ask you remember that person might be a political opponent, ut not a mortal enemy, and you have to frame that question with the same level of regard that you would have them ask you. >> hi, i'm jesse. how do we deal with the enormous debt in a bipartisan way? > he congratulated the panel on the brilliance of their presentation. i have to agree. a little embarrassing. the question, senator daschle, you talked about a country and ts elected representatives needing a crisis to come ogether.
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it seems we have one. how can congress -- i will ask the reverend to answer -- how can we address a seminal crisis like this one? >> we have to weigh the outcomes in terms of the negatives that had prevail and make a decision that if everyone is going to that survive and if they are born to do what is best for the people, it is in everybody's best interests for them to work together and come to conclusions that everybody may not agree with, but agree with, as we did in the old days, that hey can work with it, and most of us sitting here know you never had a piece of legislation that got it done by irst time. most of it you go three or four times before, because you have to get everybody in the mix, and if you are not talking to people, it is not going to happen. here has to be that connection nd that kind of relationship
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that says we are quite to do this. both sides come together and make it happen. >> once again, more rules, less attitude. other questions. >> hi, i am wondering with everything that is going on ith the solutions that we have to have to bring up to fix the debt, it brings up so much difference in how to fix the problems politically on both sides, and i am wondering -- i wrote this down earlier -- is the american experiment going into the fail because of party politics? > what is your name? >> matthew. >> great question, matthew. >> i know everyone believes
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that this is a crisis i know in the history of the united states, and i assure you we have had crises of the same dimension. remember in the 1960's what it was like, and the ssassination of a president, martin luther king jr., robert kennedy, in a series of how many years. if that did not destroy us, and not set us on the course of irreconcilable differences, i o not what would have. hat we are facing today is a financial crisis, and the answer -- i think it was jesse who said -- democrats have to come to the table and say we're willing to do something about social security and edicare. we will do something about
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pending. and republicans have to come and say we do not have a fair tax system and we are going to change the tax code to raise more revenue. once you do that, a lot of people are going to be defeated. that will their last legislative accomplishment if they are able to come to an agreement. i do not think that suddenly it is the fault or woe is me and this is the end of the greatest democracy known in the history of this world. ot at all. >> any panelist who would like to take it, but the congressman makes an excellent point, we have been divided to more dramatically, but over much larger stakes, over questions f slavery, suffrage, whether an individual should be counted as 3/5 of what human being. whether the top marginal tax rate is set at 31% or 35% is important, but in that context it seems like we can come together.
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we have one more question. i was wondering if anybody would want to talk about the scope of the challenge. we have always faced problems. t is a question of how you address the problem, how you tackle it. process often dictates policy. it really needs to start with the rank and file going back to the committee process. there is virtually no committee process at least in the senate where you are charged with the responsibility of addressing the debt question, for example, r whether or not you are going o reform the tax code, and you have a process by which both
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sides have to work at out. it does not come instantaneously. people have these unrealistic expectations, and lawmakers with 30 seconds think they are run to overhaul the deficit. you have to have a process. now every package we get has been 11th-hour, crafted by the leadership behind closed doors. it concentrates the power in the hands of leadership and takes at away from the rank and file. the give-and-take gets you to a place where i did not get everything i wanted, but i get some of what i want it. everybody does not expect to get 100%. you do not expect that you are going to get 100% adopted. the same is true in congress. they have to reconcile those differences. the only way to do that is still a legitimate process. it has to be bipartisan. somebody is on to say, bipartisanship is not a theory, it is a political necessity. >> i am going to have to ask if we have time for one more question.
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we have time. you guys are lucky, at least one of you is. >> we will get to a microphone in one second. would you please come up ere. >> i'm a dentist in the san fernando valley dental society. one of the major concerns in this country is the affordable health care act, and there is a lot of concern about that. i have to ask senator daschle, senator snowe, if we will ever repeal that, but we will be able to modify it because people are concerned, increases in whatever they have to pay for their health insurance, whether they will be able to get enough health care because
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there will not be enough people to provide that care, because more people are on it. i would like their comments on that, because it is dividing the country. >> i will ask senator daschle to address that huge amount of debate, of vitriol surrounded its passage, but it becomes clear that some adjustments are needed. reasonable people can disagree to the extent of the adjustments, but some will need to be made going forward. maybe you could talk about what might need to be done to adjust the act. >> when it comes to health care -- and i think people are much more together than we really realize. there's no disagreement in our country today that we have costs, access, and quality issues of an enormous
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proportions. we spend more on health in the united states than the next 10 countries put together. we do not rank in the top 25 on quality in almost any other category today. not even in the top 25. we have a long way to go, and there is unity on the causes. we have real issues with regard to unnecessary care. about 1/3 of what we spend is unnecessary. we have a lot of tort reform ssues. the only sector in the economy here at the time of purchase where we do not know where it is on the cost or who is going to pay. there is common ground on the law. everybody wants it. we want to produce a high value of care in the marketplace with better access, better quality, lower costs. no disagreement. the real disagreement comes on what the role of government is
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in accomplishing that goal, and there lies the challenge of the affordable care act. last year there were two near-death experiences, the supreme court decision and the election. the affordable care act is the law, and we have to figure out a way to make it work better and dealing with this ongoing debate about what the proper ole of government should be. we know the status quo is unsustainable. when i was born, health care was 4% of the cost of gdp. when my children were born, it was 8%. grandchildren, 16%. if i'm lucky enough to have great-grandchildren, it will be 2% of gdp. that is unsustainable. we have to figure out what is the right structure today to deal with costs, access, and quality and all the products, and once we do that, and i am confident we can move in that direction if we do it in a collective and concerted way. >> i want to congratulate our questioner for helping us put our finger on the intersection
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between the very significant policy issues that tom just laid out and the process and the rules and the way congress functions that have been the subject of this panel. if you think about the affordable care act as being manufactured, how it came to become, not only is it merely unique in its size and scope as a monumental piece of legislation, many, many pages, very difficult to read and understand, and so on, and took a lot of work, but also it was passed in an entirely partisan manner. it is wise to do a little listening and make sure that both major parties are involved. you could say the same thing about the dodd-frank act. all the major legislative accomplishments that i had were bipartisan, and i would not have been able to accomplish big things in congress if i had not worked across the aisle. we make a mistake as a country
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and the congress when we try to undertake these big, big game-changing things without getting buy-in from the major parties together. >> we have quite a few more questions. this leaves us two options. we can continue the panel to a length that will satisfy me, but unfortunately we cannot stay quite that long. ur second option is it is time to wrap up, so in just a moment, i will ask you to thank our panelists. i'll take a moment of privilege. almost 30 years ago i drove from my home in wisconsin to ashington in order to work for president reagan's reelection campaign. i have close friends and family members who did the same thing in order to work for other campaigns at all levels in both parties.
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that was special to come back to a library honoring my first boss in politics, to talk not only about one individual's accomplishments, but to talk about how good men and women of a wide range of ideologies and partisan backgrounds can come together on behalf of the common good. we learned a lot in the course of this hour and 10 minutes. what i will take away is a change in the rules, but it is about the women and men who we send to represent us, and what that tells me is something that i have come to believe more strongly than anything else hat i've learned as an observer -- politics is too important to be left to the politicians. if you want the system to work,
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whether in your city, state, or country, it requires the active involvement of every single one of us as citizens. in a moment, i will ask you to thank our panelists, but for audience members who care enough about this to come today, to watch this on television, or participate, give yourselves a round of applause for helping lead a discussion on american democracy. one gentleman is giving himself standing ovation, and that is ntirely appropriate. that's also before we thank our panelists, let's thank the people at the bipartisan policy center to create common ground so both parties can come together and do work. thank you all very much. let's thank our hosts at the
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reagan library, for being so gracious and willing to begin this series of conversations, to all of you work so hard on behalf of the former resident's memory. hank you for joining with us today. and finally, all you join me in joining our panelists for a ascinating conversation. e will take a minute or two of a break, and then the next panel discussion. thanks again. national cable satellite corp. 2013] national captioning institute]
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>> the senate is in session working on the budget holding a vote ram ma. more than 500 bills have been offered. it could take the senate past midnight to hold the votes. they will be in session possibly into the early hours of saturday morning. after that the recess will begin. they will be out for two weeks. we'll continue to you bring you updates on the c-span network. you can watch the work in progress now at c-span2. >> to believe in something that is so right, so dear, so necessary, have you to get in trouble but before we got in any trouble as students, as young people we studied. we didn't just wake up one
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morning and say we would go is it n. we didn't dream one day we would come to washington and go march. or that we were going to march from selma to montgomery. we studied. we prepared ourselves. >> they intimidated so many people, white people in particular by using that phrase, black power. when they used that word or phrase black power, it made many people think it meant destruction, blowing up the statute of liberty or ground zero. destroying america. it wasn't about destroying america. it was about rebuilding america and having a new paradigm and how we could be as we did that pledge going to school about the land of the free, the home of the breave. >> jong man john lewis and
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john an john medalist weekend on c-span2. >> tonight on c-span president obama's press conference with king of jordan followed by upcoming particle meantry elections. later former members of congress talk about partisanship and their experiences on capitol hill. >> president obama continued the first trip of his second term visiting israel, the west bank and jordan. e met with the king of jordan. the king said they are housing 460,000 refugees and expect the number to double by tend of the year. the u.s. will provide $00
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million in aid to jordan. his is about 40 minutes. we are delighted to have these discussions. they were very, very fruitful on the strategic partnership. we are very grateful to you, sir, and the administration, as well as congress for the continued support as has been shown over so many years. and this partnership throughout the years has provided us to get to where we are today. and we continue that you will continue to help us secure egional peace. we did have an opportunity to discuss syria. as you know, we are horrified by the loss of life and brutality.
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if this continues as we are seeing, there will be increasing fragmentation of syria which obviously will have disastrous consequences for decades to come. it is important to have an immediate political transition to end the conflict. obviously, we have an urgent need for the international community to help in humanitarian assistance to catch up to the challenges we re facing. we need to have the ability to stockpile through the same people, and also to be able to assist those outside. jordan today is hosting by far today the largest number of syrian refugees. we have over 460,000 syrians.
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that is 10% of our population. the alarming trend continues as we see today. it will probably double by the end of the year. it is possible that number could go up to 60 million by the end of the year. the refuge camps -- the refugee camp it is the fifth largest city in jordan. and the economic cost due to the influx as further stressed an economy already under considerable external pressures. having said that, as i alluded to, we are so grateful for the u.s. assistance. it is an enormous responsibility. together, we tend to -- we continue to appeal to the nternational community for
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further help in averting this calamity. e had an opportunity to talk about the peace process. we are very delighted with the vision and death the president showed -- vision and depth that the president showed. this conveys the crucial part of u.s. leadership in is really-palestinian negotiations. the two-state solution is the only way to go. if you compare that with the radicalization of syria, together with the impasse in the peace process, this will be a serious threat to an already
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volatile region. the window is fast closing for negotiations, primarily due to increasing sectarian activities. there is no time to waste. the prime minister shared details of jordan's homegrown model. we believe that we have a model as a clear end goal, a parliamentary government. checks and balances of democracy. a new constitutional court. we will also add a new independent election commission, and we are looking at jordan as a model for the
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revolution, consensual and eaceful, and ensuring there is tolerance, moderation, and unity. and equally as important, a level playing field. we will ensure regard for civil liberties and civil rights. today, we look to our prime minister of forming his parliamentary government in the next few weeks. based on his consultations with parliament's come up which is an extension of the same constitutional process that esulted in his nomination. i am very proud of this process. what we are seeing is the third way in the middle east. we now enjoy the benefits of the arab summer for us all. we have to roll up our sleeves. it will be a very bumpy and difficult road. but i look forward to the future. again, mr. president, thank you to jordan.
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>> thank you very much. it is great to be back in ordan. i am glad to speak with my friend king abdullah. thank you to the people of ordan for their extreme warmth nd hospitality that i remember well from my first visit as a senator. that thing i mainly remember when i came here was his majesty personally drove me to the airport. i will not tell you how fast he was going, but secret service could not keep up. nevertheless, we are very much appreciative for you welcoming me and my delegation. the reason i am here is simple. jordan is an invaluable ally. it is a great friend. we have been working together since the early years of the kingdom. his majesty's reat-grandfather, who gave his
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life in the name of peace. today, we are working to improve the lives of our peoples. our cooperation helps keep your citizens and hours safe from terrorism. your military police help train other security forces in other palestinian territories. am especially grateful to his majesty, who like his father is a force for peace in word and in deed. you are the first arab leader i welcome to the oval office and i very much appreciate the work you've done on a broad range up challenges. i have come to jordan to deepen what is already an extraordinary cooperation. i had a chance to talk with him about the necessary political reform, and i want to commend the people of jordan on at this year's parliamentary elections
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that moves toward a more inclusive political process. i appreciate his majesty's plans for tolerance for a government, and a very much welcome his commitment to act f citizenship or citizens play a larger role in the future of this nation. and i think his majesty recognizes that jordan has a great opportunity to show the benefits of a genuine and peaceful reform. with stronger political parties, governance, transparency, which makes government's more effective and make sure that the people feel a connection to their
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governments. your majesty, you have been a driving force for these peace efforts. you can be sure the united states will continue to work with you. economic progress has become what political process. the majority government is working hard to manage the current budget challenges. i think that his majesty outlined enormous pressures that jordan is experiencing, including a range of at external factors as well. i recognize what these economic reforms are difficult, they are ssential to create the kind of growth and opportunity and dynamism that will help the jordanian people achieve their dreams. i am happy to provide loan guarantees to jordan as your. together, i believe we can deliver the result that jordanian people deserve. health care, clean water, enhanced training that i know a
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lot of the jordanian people eed to get a job or turn entrepreneurial skills into a business that creates even more jobs. i was proud to welcome some of hese on to burn norse. we will continue to create economic opportunities for the people here and for people everywhere. we have spent a good time -- a good amount of time talking about this. as i said in my speech yesterday, i believe there are steps both sides can take to build trust and continue a serious negotiation forward. we are not there yet, but i am confident it can happen, in part because it must happen. it will be good for israeli is and for palestinians. i am very grateful for his majesty's efforts. as it's been true in the past, his majesty will be critical in making steps toward lasting
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peace for israelis and alestinians. and i want to commend his ajesty for his leadership, and i want to commend the jordanian people for their compassion during an extraordinarily difficult time for their neighbors. his majesty was the first arab leader to publicly call on assad to step down because of the horrific violence being inflicted on the syrian eople. jordan took a leading role in the political transition to a more stable government. we are looking at strengthening the syrian opposition. we share concerns about violence spilling across the borders. i want to make it clear. the united states is committed
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to the security of jordan, which is backed by our strong alliance. he jordanian people have displayed extraordinary generosity, but the strains of some many refugees inevitably is showing. every day, they are far from home, but this is a heavy burden. need the international community to step up and help houlder this burden. the united states will certainly do our part. we are these single largest donor of assistance to the syrian people. some of this has helped jordan, and for days i have been announcing that my administration will provide jordan with an additional $200 illion in budget support as it cares for syrian refugees and jordanian communities affected
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by this crisis. this will mean more assistance with basic services including education for syrian children so far from on, whose lives have been up in did. as parents, we can only imagine how heartbreaking that must be for any parent, to see their hildren having to go through those kinds of tumult they are xperiencing. as our partnership improves, the lives of not only the jordanian people, but people across the region. your majesty, i want to express my great appreciation for our partnership. i want to thank you and the jordanian people for the hospitality you have shown me, and for my fellow americans. this is my last visit. i am looking forward to tomorrow, weather permitting,
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seeing one of the greats waters of history, that the world can experience thanks to jordan and its people. thank you. > yes? > thank you, your majesty. i want to ask you -- how are you going to keep the borders open for the syrian regime? anything could happen at any time. is it the electricity or the water? you might find 1000 refugees. that is what you spoke about, our majesty. i want to thank you again, and
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i just want to know -- you are the leading superpower, the united states of america. do you have a plan to end the bloodshed, the killing? and now talking about -- what is your comment about that? >> first of all, the problem with refugees comes down to a humanitarian issue and how are e going to turn back at women, children, and the wounded? it is something we cannot do. it is not the jordanian way. we have this sort we open our arms to those who need services. we cannot turn our back on challenges. that is the reality we are facing. ordan has always been a safe
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haven to the people around us for many, many decades. unfortunately, from that point of view, refugees will continue to come to jordan, and we will continue to look after them as best as we can. the problem is obviously, the burden this has been having on jordan. we have tried to quantify this as much as possible. it is roughly $150 million per year. if those numbers double by the end of the year, we are obviously talking about ore. that is not only a problem, but that will be a tremendous drain on our infrastructure and it is causing social problems. that is one of the reasons why we are asking for the international community to help. physically, we cannot turn away young children, women, people in desperate need. o, we will continue to take on those responsibilities. >> since the start of the ituation in syria, we have
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stepped up as not just a super ower, as you phrased it, but also for basic humanity to say that assad needed to go. we have not just lead with words, but we also lead with deeds. as i indicated, we are the largest single humanitarian donor to the syrian people. we have worked diligently in cooperation with the international community to help organize and mobilize political opposition that was credible, because in the absence of a credible political opposition, it would be impossible for us to transition to a more epresentative and legitimate government structure inside of
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syria. that is an area where we have been involved on almost a daily basis. first, secretary hillary clinton helped to spearhead the reforms bat created a coherent syrian opposition council. now you have the secretary kerry, who is deeply involved in that effort as well. e are providing not just advice, but training and capacity in order for that political opposition to maintain links within syria and be able to provide direct services for people inside of syria, including the relief efforts that obviously we are seen here in jordan, but there is a whole bunch of people internally displaced inside of syria who need help. i think that what your question may be suggesting maybe is, why haven't we simply gone in militarily?
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and you know, i think it is fair to say that the united states oftentimes it finds itself in situations where if it goes in militarily, and if it does not, then people say, why are you doing something ilitarily? and you know, my response at this stage is to make sure that what we do contribute to bringing an end to the bloodshed as quickly as possible. and working in a multilateral context, an international context, because we think our experience shows when we lead, but we are also working with others like the jordanians, the turks, others in the region, then the outcomes are etter. when we are working with the
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syrians themselves so this is not externally imposed, but rather something that is linked directly with the hopes and aspirations of people inside of syria, it will work better, and so what we will continue to do -- use every lever and every impulse that we have to affect the situation inside of syria. there are measures we have called for, and we know the u.n. is moving forward with investigations on exactly what happened. i have said publicly that the use of chemical weapons by the assad regime would be a game changer from our perspective. because, once you let that's the situation spend out of control, it is very hard to stop and that will have enormous spillover effects across the region. and so, we are going to continue to closely consult with everybody across the region and do everything we can to break -- bring an end to the bloodshed and to allow the syrian people to get out from
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under a leader who was lost all legitimacy because he is willing to slaughter his own people. he will be replaced. it is not a question of if. it is when. part of what we have to think about is what is the aftermath going to affect? and by the way, we need to think about that in a way that erves the syrian people from ll walks of life, from all religious affiliations. because one of the things we know about this region is that if we fail the -- to create a
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model in the arab world in which people can live side-by-side, regardless of whether they are sunni or shi'a or druze, regardless of the manner in which they worship their god, if we do not create that's a possibility, then these problems will occur again and again and again. i think his majesty understands that. these kind of tribal lines are part of what we have to get beyond. they do not create jobs. hey do not put food in the ouths of children. they do not provide education. hey cannot create a thriving economy. and that's going to be a central challenge, not just in syria but across the region. the united states, i think, has something to say about that because part of what makes us a super power because we have people from every walks of life and every religion and if they are willing to work hard they
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can success. that has to be more consistently spoken about. not just with respect to the syria situation but the moment of promise and danger in the rab world in north africa. >> thank you, mr. president. you mentioned the aftermath of the assad regime. there's a lot of concern that the upheaval is creating extremism. how concerned are you that extremist could take over in syria and, perhaps worse than assad? i was hoping you could give us an insight on how you brokered the call to netanyahu. and you have offered asylum that he rejected and does that offer still stand? thank you. > well, i'm very concerned
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about syria becoming a place for extremists because extremists thrive in chaos. they thrive in failed states nd in power vacuums. they don't have much to offer when it comes to building things but they are good about xploiting situations that, you know, are no longer functional. they fill that gap. that's why, i think it is so important for us to work with the international community to help accelerate a political transition had is viable so a syria a state continues to function, so the basic institutions can be rebuilt, hey are not destroyed beyond recognition. that we are avoiding what inevitably becomes divisions
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because by definition, if you have an extremist that mean you don't have a lot of tolerance or people who don't share your beliefs. we have to recognize we have a take here. we can't do it alone. and the outcome in syria is not going to be ideal, even if we execute our assistance and coordination, our planning, and support, the situation in syria now is going to be difficult. that is what happens when you have a leader that cares more about clinging to power than they do about holding their country together and looking after their people. it is tragic and heartbreaking. he sight of children and women
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being slaughtered that we've een so much, i think it has to compel all of us to say what more can we do? that's a question that i'm asking as president every single day and i know his majesty is asking in his capacity here in jordan. what i am confident about is ultimate -- ultimately what people in syria are looking for is not replacing repression with a new form of repression. what they are looking for is replacing repression with freedom, opportunity, and democracy and the capacity to live together and build together. that's what we have to begin planning for now understanding that it is going to be difficult. something has been broken in syria and it is not going to be put back together perfectly, mmediately, any time soon even
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after assad leaves. but we can begin the process of oving it in a better direction and having a cohesive political operation is critical to. the conversation that took place between myself and president netanyahu, i have long said that it is in the pest interests of the two countries we have need to restore the relationship between the two countries that normally had good ties. t broke down several years ago. for the last two years, i've poken to both prime minister netanyahu and the prime minister of turkey on why this needs to be amended.
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they don't have to agree on everything for them to come around common interests. during my visits, it appeared that the timing was good for that conversation to take place. i discussed it with prime minister netanyahu and both of us agreed that the moment was right. fortunately, they were able to begin the process of rebuilding normal relations between two very important countries in the region. his is a work in progress. it is just beginning. as i said, there are still going to be significant disagreements between israel and turkey. not just on the palestinian issue but a range of issues. but they also have a range of shared interests and they both happen to be strong partners and friends of ours. so it is in the interest of the united states that that begin this process of getting their relationship in order. i'm glad to see it is happening. >> the question about the
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asylum that he has to answer himself. if he is interested in the asylum and is he interested in oming to jordan? our point of view, we need a transition as quickly as possible. if the issue of asylum ever came up, that is something that all of us would have to put our heads together and to see if that would end the violence quickly. so the question is beyond my pay rate at this stage. but it is something that i'm ure if it came out it would be something we discussed a level of international unity. >> thank you. your majesty, last year jordan managed to break the peace process and bringing israelis and palestinians together at the table.
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now -- do you have anything in mind or you going to have any similar efforts? mr. president, would you support an effort because we know that the two sides need to be brought back to the negotiating table? thank you. >> at this stage, obviously, last year we kept israelis and palestinians -- simply because we wanted to keep the process alive as much as we could. knowing full well we were waiting for this opportunity, the president finished a successful visit to both the israelis and the palestinians. we've been in close contact with the state department and secretary kerry has been right in keeping expectations low so, what i call the homework stage s still in effect.
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we're all consulting at this stage on how to build on this visit. as we all share notes, we'll have a better understanding over the next several weeks what is the next step. jordan's role is to be there as a facilitator and support israelis and palestinians to bring them closer together. so i believe the next several weeks and next several months will have the homework or the framework will come together and move forward. obviously, we welcome hosting israelis and palestinians together if that is what they obviously, we welcome hosting israelis and palestinians together if that is what they want. we've always been in a support role for both sides. we see a window of opportunity and i believe the statements that the president has made to the israeli and the palestinians is an opportunity to regalvanize the effort. one that we will stand by and support as we compare notes of the president's visit to the three countries. >> first of all, i think he described what i tried to accomplish on this trip very well.
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this is a trip to make sure i'm doing my homework. itall recognize how vital could be to see a resolution of the israeli/palestinian conflict. we set expectations low because there has been a lot of talk over decades, but it has not produced the results that everyone wants to see. my approach has been let me listen to the parties first. let me find out exactly what the roadblocks are for progress. let me discuss with them ways that we can move the road block out of the way in order to achieve a concrete result. and i've been modest because,
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frankly peace will not be achieved unless ultimately the parties themselves want peace. i think all of us in the international community share this frustration, why can't we get this problem solved? i think the israeli people are frustrated that they feel this problem is not solved. they don't enjoy the isolation has come from this conflict. the palestinian people certainly feel that frustration. as i mentioned in my speech yesterday, i met with young people who are growing up unable to do the basic things that free people should expect they should be able to do. simple things, like travel. or enjoying the kinds of privacy in their own homes that so many of us take for granted.
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these are children, young people, young men and women who, as i described yesterday, aren't different from my daughters. they deserve the same opportunities. they deserve this cloud to be lifted from their lives. because they can achieve and they have enormous potential and i don't want them living under a sense of constricted possibility. israelion't want the people continuing looking over their shoulder thinking at any point their house may be hit by a rocket or a bus may be blown up. so, part of the tragedy of the situation is that neither side is getting exactly what they want but it has been hard to break out of old patterns and a difficult history.
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my hope and expectation as a consequence of us doing our homework, we can explore with the parties a mechanism for them to sit back down, to get the old assumptions, think in new ways and to get this done. i think if it gets done in a timely way, then the israeli people will be safer and the palestinian people will be freer. and children on both sides will have a better life. as a consequence the region as a whole will be strengthened and the world will be safer. i can't guarantee that is going to happen. what i can guarantee is that we'll make the effort.
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i will guarantee that secretary kerry will spend a good deal of time in discussion with the parties. i ask assure you that nobody feels a greater interest in us achieving this then his majesty. so we're going to keep on plugging away. the one thing i did say, i think to both sides is that the of opportunity still exists. but it is getting more and more difficult. the mistrust is building instead of decreasing. providingics of security for israel is getting more difficult with different technologies and the logistics is creating a functioning palestinian state is becoming more difficult. both sides have to begin to
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think about their long-term strategic interests instead of worrying about, can i get a short-term tactical advantage there or here? they need to say to themselves what is the big picture and how do we get this done? that is ultimately i believe both people want. i think it is interesting that my speech in jerusalem, some of the strongest applause came when i addressed the israeli people and i said you have to think about the palestinian children like your own children. it tapped into something that they understood. that gives me hope.
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i think that shows there's a possibility there. but it is hard. what i also said was ultimately people have to help provide the structures for leaders to take some difficult risks. so that's why i wanted to speak directly to the israeli people and the palestinian people. so they can help empower their leadership to make some difficult decisions and tradeoffs in order to achieve a compromise where neither side will get 100% of what they want. we're going to try to make it happen. >> thank you, mr. president. mr. president, you have said repeatedly on this trip and before, that all options are on the table to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon, including military action. the leader of iran and said if any action is taken he will
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raise the cities in tel aviv to the ground. if i can ask, what you think would happen here? what would be the aftermath of a military strike either taken by the united states or israel against iran? what is a biggest threat to instability of -- in this region? >> first of all, i'm going to go engage in a whole bunch of hypotheticals because what i said from the moment i came into office was the best resolution of this situation is through diplomacy. i continue to believe that.
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we have organized the international community around a sanctions regime that is having an impact on iran. not because we forced other countries to do it because they recognize that if you trigger a nuclear arms race in this region, as volatile as it is, if you have the prospect of nuclear weapons of getting in the hands of terrorists and extremists, that is not just israel threatened, it is a whole range of people that could be threatened. mighttalking about syria be able to use chemical weapons. what would be the conversation if syria po possessed nuclear weapons? this is not just a problem for israel or just a problem for the united states, it is a regional and worldwide problem. by the way, we have been
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consistent in sing that not proliferation is a problem around the global. the fact of the matter is iran cannot establish with the international community that is it pursuing peaceful nuclear power. there's a reason to these resolutions and violations identified by the united nations. it is not something we made up. there is a lot of other countries that have the technical capacity but they are able to get right with the international community but iran has not been able to do so. if what the leader says is the case, which is developing nuclear weapon and that iran has no interest in developing nuclear weapons, then there should be a practical, verifiable way to assure the international community that it is not doing so.
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this problem will be solved to the benefit of the region and to the benefit on iranian people. the iranian people are celebrating their most important holiday and every year and deliver a message. i remind them that they are a great civilization they have extraordinary history and unbelievable talent. they should be in the international community. to be able to thrive and build businesses and there should be exchanges and travel and interactions with the iranian people and everyone else, including the united states. that should be the vision.
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israeliats to raise cities to the ground. part of the frustration that, i think we all feel sometimes is it seems as if people spend all their time around how they can gain advantage over other people or inflict violence on other people or isolate other instead of trying to figure out how do we solve problems? is this is a solvable problem if in fact, iran is trying to establish a nuclear weapon. we're going to continue to apply the pressure that we have in a nonmilitary way to try to solve the problem. we'll try to continue to find diplomatic solutions to the problem. i have said as the president of the united states, that i will maintain every option that is
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available to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon because the consequences for the region and the world would be extraordinary dangerous. my hope and expectation is that among a menu of options the option that involves negotiations, discussions, compromise, and resolution of the problem is the one that is exercised. but as president of the united states, i would never take any option off the table. >> there is something i would like to add to what the president said. from the jordanian point of view the problems that we face as we look around the region. the challenges that the israelis and the palestinians will be facing we have concerns what is happening in iraq. whether israeli or iranian at this stage is pandora's box because nobody can guarantee
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what the outcome would be. hopefully there is another way to resolve this problem at the time with so much instability the middle east we don't need another thing on our shoulders. >> thank you to the people of jordan. president obama have the dinner tonight with king abdullah gang continue to petra for beginning his trip back to the united states. the senate is in session tonight working on the 2014 federal budget. and holding votes on an unlimited number of amendments. more than 500 amendments have been offered and the senate could be in session into the early hours of morning. after the vote, they will begin their spring recess last two weeks. he can watch the senate on c-
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span2. >> monday night on first ladies, called in bigamist and adulterer during her husband's 1828 presidential campaign, ray told jackson dies of a heart attack before andrew l. jackson takes office. his knees because the white house hostess but his later dismissed -- his niece becomes the white house hostess but is later dismissed. we will include your questions and comments by phone, facebook and twitter by monday night at eastern on c-span and c-span3. also on skis and radio and c- span.org. remains the by the imam -- ahead of parliamentary elections. backed by president mohammad marcy and groups -- as a mohammed marsi and groups.
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>> personally oversaw the research for this project and twisted my arm into doing this event, so thank you, and also to michelle and samer. i will begin by rolling out the study that was released today. the type line was that egypt is not lost to islamists. non-islamists are increasingly competitive, in certain areas of the country, and should they choose to contest future elections, they are likely to pick up seats on their islamist rivals. before i walk you through that analysis, for those of you who do not follow the situation as closely, background is in which is after the
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january 25 revolution in 2011 that toppled mubarak, there were parliamentary elections late 2011 and early 2012. that resulted in an islamist- dominated assembly in both the two chambers. subsequently, a court decision dissolved the lower house, and now we were scheduled to have a rerun of elections for the parliament on april 22 of this year. again, there is an issue of the constitutionality of the election law. itn we have those elections remains in doubt, and whether the non-islamist opposition, which is for the most part organized under the national salvation front, whether they participate remains in doubt.
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that is by way of background. now i want to get to the report, and so the report looks at several questions. what we are trying to answer is sub-national voting patterns, so if you want to take the u.s. metaphor, what is the red-state, blue-state dynamic? where is the electoral base of the islamists, where is the electoral base of the non- islamists theseition to looking at patterns, we were looking at broader trend lines, and so egypt has had four major votes during the two years it has been undergoing its political transition. there have been two referenda, and the charter and a vote on the permanent constitution this past december. the parliamentary elections and the presidential vote.
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only four data points, but still there are some data points. is the political star of the islamists, or non-islamists, if you will, waxing or waning? and then at what are the prospects for non-islamists going forward? some people say they are relevant. this analysis will argue they are not and will be increasingly competitive. once again, in terms of our study approach, our methodology, we're looking at four major votes, the inter-constitutional referendum, the election for the parliament that took place late 2011, early 2012, the presidential runoff and a referendum on a permanent constitution. for those of you who follow egypt, you will notice we are excluding two votes, election for the upper house of parliament and the presidential election with the two-staged election, an initial election
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with five first-tier candidates, and in the runoff. i can get into that in the q&a. it is complicated why we didn't do that. before actually depict the electoral resorts graphically, and you can see where the bases are, it is useful to have some understanding of where the electorate is located within egypt. for those of you who visited the country, or perhaps hail there, you know that most egyptians lived very close to the banks of the nile. huge expanses of territory that are mostly desert area. those are big expanses of territory, very little of the electorate.
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these areas that are seated in turquoise and orange, they contain 97% of the electorate. those are the areas you want to focus on. governancear, the that are labeled as upper egypt, they have 20% of the vote. the area that is cairo and giza, a big metropolitan area, the is a little over 20% of the vote. theome of you may not delta, which is where the nile spans out, there is the biggest second city. a lot of smaller second cities there. as one in 50% of the electorate. if you're looking at kind of where is the center of gravity. i want to jump right into these red state blue state dynamics of where they have the strongest support bases.
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i should say, i am counting islamists as both the freedom and justice party, the political arm of the muslim but also the groups that which ran under a party list. in the aggregate, islamists counted that way, 73% of the lower house. he dominated the election. it is hard to say they didn't. they cleaned up in that election. in the green area, they over perform their national average. they want even more than 73% of the seats in this governance that are shaded green. they one less than their
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national average, less than 73%. in the beijing area, where they -- in the beige area, where they performed in line with their national average. what you will see is some clear geographic divide. the islamists, the freedom and justice party, did quite well in upper egypt, which you would expect. non-islamists did well in larger metropolitan areas in the north, which he would also expect. places like cairo and port said. islamists had vulnerability in the delta. in fact, the muslim brotherhood is a organization i focus on a lot. they're the stronghold of the muslim brotherhood. the founder founded it there. the current leadership of the organization, or some of their more prominent leaders, like mohammed padilla, and mohamed
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morsi, they both hail from this area. you do see some vulnerability from the islamists within the delta that you might not expect. the next election that follows that vote was the presidential election. i am focusing on the runoff, where you have the muslim brotherhood candidate, mohamed morsi. the last prime minister was a last us attempt. you have the brotherhood putting forward their candidate.
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what you see is really stark geographic divides. what is on the parliamentary elections is crystallized here. mohamed morsi wins every government with one exception. a very tiny government. you see a lot of vulnerability for the islamists, in this case, in the delta, where morsi represented that government. in fact, he won by pretty big margins in the delta by more than 10 percentage points in four of those five governments.
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more secular candidates also tend to do well in the red sea area, but i don't want to concentrate on those. we are talking about less than one percent. the story emerging is that islamists are doing really well in upper egypt, non-islamist are doing well in the metropolitan areas in the north, cairo and alexandria, and there are surprising opposition to the islamists emerging in the delta. thegoing to move on to constitutional referendum, and the reason why i lead with this, this is the first chronologically. the first vote that took place after the revolution. we should look at it with some degree of caution in terms of what it says about non-islamists and islamists.
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that said, it is a decent proxy indicator, he cause islamists strongly lined up in favor of the charter. you can view as a proxy indicator. the islamists position, the interim charter had a yes vote of 77%. it is their high water mark. it is the first vote after the transition. you see that despite the fact that there is wide support for this interim charter, that extends to the country, for example, it passed by less than 40%. it passed by the largest margin in upper egypt, just as we saw in the earlier vote.
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as why they are shaded green. they were in the same areas. cairo, alexander, and smaller governments in the red sea. now i'm going to move onto the most recent recent vote in egypt, which was the december 2012 referendum on the constitution. and here, the regional divides are even more stark. what we see here is you had three governments in the delta -- or two in the delta that majorities rejected the constitution. it only passed by a percentage. overall support dropped for the interim charter. that passed with 77%.
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either you will have 64 yes. newly significant drop in turnout. owing a third of the electorate turned out to vote for the permanent constitution. what are the main takeaways? the main takeaways are that islamists do quite well in upper egypt in the outline governments of the west. whereas, also in north sinai, non-islamists do well in cairo, south sinai, and sparsely populated governments abutting the red sea. the delta is contested territory, surprisingly so. we see an opportunity for non- islamists. they underperform their national averages. there is a macro trend, which is
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support for islamists is raining over time. water their are high marks within the first referendum, the first election that occurred after the transition am at which point they have been bleeding support. what are the implications going forward? i am not here to advocate that the national salvation should participate in the elections. that is their choice. it is a complicated calculation behind that. there could be good reasons for not participating. my nall sis argues that should they decide to participate, they could pick up seats. i'm not suggesting they would get a majority of seats. those groups combined to get a small percentage in the first lection. but i think they would outperform as they did in the 2011-2012 elections to be more competitive. i think the trend line that i am
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identifying here, i take a study approach that is very data-driven. if you take a more qualitative approach, and you look at developments, recent development the region, they tend to support these main trendlines. for example, you have a lot of opposition that has been alvanized by president morsi's november 22nd presidential decree in which he expanded the power of the executive. he placed his decisions above judicial review. and also appointed what has been a very, very divisive general. there is galvanized a lot of opposition. you have had major protests in the canal cities. and, they don't necessarily have to do with directly the support
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for islamists or support for non-islamists, but they have taken on as a political turn and spread more broadly throughout the country. also you have had a change in the relative cohesiveness of actors. one of the advantages of the islamists in previous elections is they are pretty cohesive. you have had some splintering among some groups. you have had what are sometimes called the doves of those groups breaking away from the start of the homeland party. ou have contentions within other elements of the community and matheny them and the muslim brotherhood. you have also had recent changes in the electoral formula you going to play to the strengths of non-islamist. a recent decision by the supreme constitutional court which mandated that representation in parliament be proportional to the size of the electorate in
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that district or government. raditionally, upper egypt, though southern governments have had disproportionate representation. it was a strategy of the previous regime. there is lower clinical -- political consciousness there. those areas were easier to deliver for the national democratic party. the areas that are going to get these under the new formula are cairo, a lot of seats in the delta. as this analysis has shown, it does well in the delta territory. here are a lot of trendlines that play in favor of the nonislamist. >> thank you jeff. thank you, jeff. we will open up the discussion. i'm going to start with some questions for my panelists.
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what i would like to do first is turned to you for reactions. starting with this whole analysis that jeff is presenting about the balance of power in the losing influence or declining influence of the islamists, the fracturing within, and so forth. to what extent do you agree with hese analyses? maybe also the question as to what extent these elections play a role to other factors in the transition. because they are not isolated. i want to make sure we think of the broad ore context here. let's start with summer. >> sure. i need to command jeff and his co-author for their report. it is a very interesting report. it is a very good report. what we should immediately take
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away is the fact that now, when elections actually have integrity, and the voting pattern mean something, we can empirically study outcomes. we could not do this before, because the primary deterrent in -- determinant in elections in egypt and are mubarak was election fraud. those of us who study elections, we had to guess which districts the voting was -- had some integrity. and which didn't. this is the first of the i've seen, and hopefully we will see ore. analysis of who votes for whom and why and so on. so i think the authors need to be commended. i agree generally with some of the conclusions that are drawn from this. some of the conclusions that are drawn from this. the fact that there is a
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geographical aspect of voting with regard to islamists. that -- and maybe i would phrase it differently or this is an area of exploration that urban centers, not just cairo, but alexandria that should be excluded from the delta, i city of 5 million people and so on. i think voted for him, the socialist candidate, in the first round of the egyptian election. that urban centers tend to not be so favorable to islamists. and of course, more rural areas tend to be more favorable to islamists. in fact, we can make even go beyond thinking about geography and think about what this means in terms of socio-economic class and i think this is very, very important. i think what we'll find is that -- there has been some research that has been known a very
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initial stage to try to drumet this, i think by the danish -- document this, i think by the danish egyptian network done by the center for political and strategic studies that tries to argue, and this makes sense that there is a relationship between ealth, education and voting. in fact, we could even -- some of the data shows this. that less education, lower wealth, one is more likely to islamists but st cellacy groups as well. that is a very important point and in line with the findings and the arguments that are made
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here. also think that the other general trend, without overemphasizing it, is also valid. we are likely to see decreasing electoral strength for islamists generally. there are many reasons for that. some are quite simple. the is up until 2011, up until the egyptian uprising, islam groups, particularly the muslim brotherhood, are really the only serious political actors other than mubarak's party that took the election seriously. there was good reason for that. if you were a rational voter in egypt under mube rack, you stayed home because you knew that your vote didn't mean nything. the large significant liberal political currents also didn't participate in elections. many of the parties we see are emerging now. as the liberal secular parties gets more established, established brand names, which they don't have, this is another issue.
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the muslim brotherhood has a brand name. it is a recognizable commodity. people know what they are voting for when they vote for the uslim brotherhood. i don't that can be said for some of the liberal parties. it might be able to be said for the west party, a very old liberal pro market pre-egyptian revolution party. it can be said of other political liberal secular parts. as these become more established, as they gain experience, as they hopefully do outreach, community work, have a presence outside the major cities and so on, do work of organization, half of success is rganization.
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the islamists have done a wonderful job of this. the liberal secular parties have not done a very good job of his. as these groups engage in this kind of grassroots politics, i would hope that their fortunes would do better. i think i will just end with the following and that is there is another reason why islamists are likely to do less well in the coming years. that is because up until the present, islamists have not been tested. mr. morsi now has been ested. at least since august 2012, and the situation is not good. here has been significant, economic deterioration. rising unemployment. a million more people unemployed.
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there is a liquidity crisis. there is the withdrawal of foreign direct investment, there is the downgrading of the egyptian economy , the appreciation of the egyptian pound, and serious security issues in the country. voters in egypt, like elsewhere, respond to conditions. right now, the conditions are the trend line not positive. i think that will likely have some impact on future elections. i think they're likely to do better. just the last point i will make, i don't know if this comes up in the report, that is something to think about. at one level is true, the imperious about this need to be investigated and little more thoroughly, to what extent is lection competition in egypt
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for islamists competition between islamists as opposed to between is a must and liberal secular forces question mark if you speak to numbers of the muslim brotherhood, the freedom of justice party, as i did last week and in the previous elections and so on, i think that their fears when they look at upcoming elections aren't so much from how -- it is from the right. it is from the other parties. from the noor party and so on. what we're likely to see is also a rebalancing possibly of that relationship in the first election. the parliamentary elections as jeff mentioned, the muslim brotherhood and their partners received about 43% of the vote, whereas the other block received about 25% of the block. -- vote. it could very well be the case that in the upcoming elections that is rebalanced a little bit and they will better and the
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muslim brotherhood does a little bit less. i think i'll end there initially and hand things over to michelle. >> do you have any disagreement? could you speak to whether they are getting their act together or not? >> thank you. i agree that the report was useful. the findings certainly ring true. since i've been asked to comment, i would say that the findings were great in the sense that they counter the conventional wisdom. there is a green wave, the brotherhood is it, they have taken over egypt, there's no going on from this. i don't think that is necessarily the case. i agree with jeff. that is not necessarily the case. we need to look in more detail. i also think, and understand with the report you were trying
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to tell a clear story. but, you know, when get beyond that, and look at things in a little more detail, there are a lot of other questions that arise. one of them, which i think is a very big one, this is a very pluralist scene in egypt and is a pluralist on all parts of the spectrum. to just islamists versus secularist doesn't tell you the whole story. they are a very important part of the story. in fact, you know, if we could put up here a schematic of the political parties, already the political scene in egypt has sorted itself out to some extent. a as so often happens after a revolution. you have dozens of parties in the first election and fewer in the next and over several interprets.
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-- terms. now, we have at least a dozen political parties, if not more that are relevant. it is not just islamists versus secularist. you could also look at being right, center, liberal, and left. you have islamists right, center liberal and left and secularrists right center, liberal and left. t tells us something about the ecular versus islamist, but also the political agenda, the agenda in terms of human rights, and the economic agenda. the political spectrum is a lot more complicated i think then just islamists versus secularist. it would be great in future work if you do more work based on this to look at that sort of thing. i also think very much of that i wanted to emphasize a point that
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was raised about the important role of mobilization. it is very good that you base your findings on electoral results, not on public opinion. one could be misled in reading this report in thinking it is about all people feel about the brotherhood versus secular parties or something. as we know, in electoral democracy, it is much more about what people do. especially about who shows up. on election day. that is one caution i want to raise. you of course raise the important issue of whether the parties that have gathered within the national salvation front will participate. that is huge. let's even say they do participate or whatever, mobilization is enormous. the question is, if sentiment is trending against the brotherhood, and i agree that it is, there are protests
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against brotherhood at their headquarters in cairo today. they have been happening, but in a on other parts of the country, not just in cairo. where we already know that sentiment is not particularly pro brotherhood. i agree with this. i think i would be interested in recent student elections, person -- professional syndicate elections. there is a trend of the brotherhood losing. losing its share. not losing entirely, but losing its share in these elections. it is interesting to think about what this means for parliamentary elections. my question about parliamentary elections is that people are feeling down on the brotherhood. does that mean that they're going to turn up and vote for somebody else? or are they just not going to turn up? is it going to be with their mechanisms to get people to turn
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out to vote for them? that is something that we're oing to need to look at. a couple of other questions. one other question that arose. you raised this question of the delta. i'm hoping that summer can say a bit about this. we haven't really talked about labor. that can be an important factor in the delta, and whether that is one of the reasons. there are some strong labor cities in the delta and the canal area and so forth and also one of the reasons why in the first round of the presidential elections he did well. i actually wish, but it would have had to be a more detailed paper, you were to get into analyzing the first round of the presidential election. it was extremely interesting, although there were some
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politically, notably liberal who were not represented. we get into what i was talking about, you have got right islamists, left islamists. if you looked at the first round results of the elections, you ould see how it divide up. the last issue i will raise is just, you mentioned the electoral districts. this court ruling that the districts have to be more representative in terms of population. ere are a lot of accusations gerrymandering. an effort while morsi has been empowered to break up the districts. i wonder what you think about that. there is also the issue with the voter lists. these are things that are complicated technical issues, but they can have a profound impact on how parliamentary elections will come out when
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they take place. i have some things i would like to say about what this means for the united states and the u.s. policy towards egypt. >> we'll get to this. i think these are great comments and really helpful as we move forward with this line of research. there seems to be agreement that voting patterns are trending against the muslim brotherhood. the disagreement is what are the implications of that. where will things move going forward? i would not mind getting your view on how things are going in terms of the election boycott and whether that is likely to happen. or how are the national non-islamist groups looking at these trends? are they thinking this is an opportunity? right now they are considering the boycott. is that a mistake? what do you think? what are possible scenarios about how this might work out?
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michelle, i would like your assessment since you spent time in government, to what extent can the u.s. influence these outcomes? should we be trying to take advantage of the vulnerabilities we are seeing on a regional basis or would that backfire? to what extent should we try to play in the electoral game, and more broadly what kind of steps were on the hill today and many folks here thinking about different kinds of steps the u.s. could take. it is important to open up the iscussion in that way. let's start on what are future scenarios that might be possible? we will start with jeff. >> in terms of the election boycott that was announced, it is hard to tell whether they are going to participate in future elections when these elections eventually do occur. the national salvation front has a series of demands that are far-reaching.
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one of them is for a national unity government. the current prime minister, he had have to go, probably -- the secretary-general -- he is not that divisive. the problem is the way in which he was appointed, which most egyptians would say it not the appropriate procedure. for appointing the prosecutor general. the national salvation front has a big list of demands they would like to see the brotherhood cede to. the brotherhood has tried to show they are flexible. there has been press reporting saying that they are willing to shuffle the cabinet. they have not yet. it is tough to tell. what is also tough to tell is how cohesive the national salvation front is. i have been surprised that they have exceeded my expectations of
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their ability to hold together. if there was a main critique of the non-islamist forces, it is that they are fractured. they don't get along together. the parties are very personalistic. there is a lot of infighting. they were unified in this boycott. there are some really smart people. their boycott campaign was being organized by a man who used to work at carnegie and is a smart guy who was politically astute. i can see the fracturing. there is some rank and file within some of the parties that would like to contest the historic nationalists party, which is always going to be a problem. it is a group you could see break for expediency reasons. if they see an opportunity to pick up seats. they have done that in the past. it is hard to tell how it will shake out. also, you do not know if these demands the national salvation
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front have made have genuine or if they have moved the goal posts. they have moved the goal posts certainly times. even if the brotherhood is willing to back down, will the nsf just push them? i will close by saying, although my analysis argues that, should the national salvation front participate, they would pick up seats, i am not necessarily advocating they take that approach. they have one source of leverage -- they can or cannot legitimize the election -- they have one big bullet in their chamber. how they decide to use that is up to mohamed elbaradei. there are also good reasons for em maybe to withhold participation if they think they can get more out of it? >> would you agree? you had mentioned earlier how the islamists face threats from the right and left. is this strategically a mistake by the non-islamist nsf to
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consider this boycott? >> it is not a mistake to consider the boycott, but it has to be said that boycotts are difficult to sustain. for them to be successful. boycotts are a collective action problem in reverse. this means there are increased incentives for defectors, because if you defect and others are not participating, there is a high likelihood you are going to succeed and be represented in greater numbers in any kind of parliament. jeff is also correct in pointing out that we have already seen indications that groups are likely to participate in the election. it needs to also be said that the question of boycotts was initially put forward when the elections were announced for mid to late april.
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now that the administrative court is going to delay this process because of the constitutionality of the electoral rules, there's no question the nsf will revisit this issue. the first point is that electoral boycotts are difficult to sustain and to be uccessful. the goal of this is the -- to deprive the legitimacy elections provide to the government. that is unlikely to be successful for a number of reasons. there are many political parties, including other islamists, and there are other liberal and non-islamist groups that have already announced that hey would participate.
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it looks as if the reform and development party is going to participate in the elections and so on. it is unlikely that an election boycott will be successful. of course the logic would be not nly to deprive legitimacy to morsi and the government, but you know, many people in the salvation ront want morsi to fail. they want things on deteriorate so much in egypt that morsi cannot continue as president and many people are calling for that. many people are calling for -- many liberal and secular voices, and i think this is absurd. they are calling for morsi to be removed. they are calling for the
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military to intervene. there are petitions signed by egyptians asking the minister of defense to intervene and remove morsi. others are calling for early presidential elections. even though mr. morsi's reign has been disastrous in many ways, it would be a terrible precedent for him not to continue his four years. the question of the boycotts will be revisited. i think that even though the 14 demands of the national salvation front are xcessive in many ways, many of the parties that are talking about boycott will eventually participate. >> michelle, how does the u.s. solve all of this or deal with it? per se? >> i never answered your previous question. about how significant will the next elections be? the constitution that was passed in december is vague in many disrespects.
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-- respects. it is troubling in many respects. where the country is going to go is going to depend on legislation that is going to be passed by this next parliament, especially if it were to serve out its full term. that will implement or not implement -- in the institution. so i think there is a lot at stake. what about the united states? to what extent can the u.s. nevertheless incomes and should it try to do so? clearly i think it would be a mistake for the united states to ry to do that in a clumsy way that could easily backfire. but i do think the united states should be keeping in mind the findings of this report and what it means. i think u.s. policy towards egypt needs to have a big picture, a long game and a short game. the long game is what you are talking about here.
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this is a pluralist, dynamic situation in egypt. the game is on. now is not the moment to say that, because morsi won the elections, that is it. i think that would be a mistake. i think the united states should interest itself in the long game and the development of a democratic system in egypt. not in specific the lyrical outcomes. think the u.s. should have an interest in the fact that if egypt is going to succeed in becoming a democracy that islamists and secular groups are going to have to work together, there are too many islamists and non-islamists.
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of scopehere is a lot for alliances and working together. it is not easy. that brings us to the short game, where egypt, right now, is facing critical economic and security challenges. we are looking at a possibility of a breakdown into chaos, economic crisis that would have huge ramifications. i think the united states has to be playing a role urging all parties to compromise politically. president morsi is trying to proceed in the political transition and run the country just with the brotherhood behind him. as we have seen in these results, it is not enough. the brotherhood cannot run the country on its own. they are going to have to have
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more people in their political tent, more allies. it is a mistake to treat president morsi as though he is the new mubarak. president morsi and his small group are going to be in charge of the country for years and decades to come -- i think the united states should have in mind that if the democratic system does develop and remains open and elections continue to be free and competitive, there is likely to be turnover. people we see today in the opposition we are likely to see in high government positions in the future. the united states should be more serious about the contact it has with people in the political opposition.
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the u.s. has focused all of its efforts in the last year or so on developing good relations with the brotherhood. morsi is a legitimately elected president. the united states should try to have constructive relations with him. and wek to him and samer all do. but it should not be only that. i want to point to the importance of the united states not throwing its weight behind this candidate or that party -- that would clearly backfire, but standing up to the values that some of these parties are standing for. i continue to think that liberalism is very vital in egypt. it is alive, growing. i just published an article about this -- "why liberalism still matters in egypt."
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the u.s. needs to be standing up for the role that the media and civil society organizations can play as watchdogs, keeping this political scene open so that the rights of egyptians are protected no matter who wins elections and so that egyptians have a real ability to change their government through elections, to call the government to account. if they are unhappy, to vote someone else in. >> i am going to open it up to the floor. when you ask your question, identify yourself. i do not know if we have a mic. project well. why don't we start up here?
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>> hello. director of an egypt program. thank you for the informative report. i want to get to a particular question. normally people have this political context during elections. it appears to me that we are stuck in this. two is very much linked to points you made. you may 2 points regarding the interpretation of this very first referendum and talking about that percentage where the
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issue was along the fault line of islam s and non-islamists. but it is not really that. which choice would put them on -- fast track or quicker or smoother transition? aen you talked about candidate running on a non- platform one islamists had a platform, i do not think that is true. >> ok. >> that is a point. it is more of who and how. look kind of advice do you give to political parties who would come to power on how to him, policies? ,ven if they have the plan they do not have the authority over institutions to implement or even when they have a
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legislation. you do not have the tools to enforce that because of lack of security and economic tools. what would be the solution? >> jeff, what is driving these votes? , we willolicy tools briefly touch on that. >> in the report, i do make that point. that is why i say we should have caution when we interpret the march 2011 referendum in the charter as supports for islamists and non-islamists. it is a legitimate proxy indicator, but there are certainly people that voted for the charter because they wanted to move along with the transition. most of his base were people who wanted stability. i will frame it broader. michele and samer talked about
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this already. what is at stake is much larger. there was talk of the death of the state because you had been justiin the -- vigilante ce. hanged because he was a car thief and the community took it upon himself to hang him. you had the incident earlier where you had vigilante justice. the state is falling apart. the security situation is terrible. samer can talk about it. he was just there. and the economic issues. look at the drop in foreign currency reserves. in many ways, the stakes are much larger. i can see your point.
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>> regarding the question about how would political parties be able to implement programs -- if they come to power in government, there are a couple of things. i already mentioned the need for creating political alliances across party lines. islamists, secularists, right, left -- i do not fancy that all of egypt can unite, but no one political party or force is going to be able to make things happen. we see some of the big things that have to happen. economic reform is desperately needed. someone has to address the hemorrhaging of the egyptian government budget. now they are letting the currency fall gradually. this must be done.
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it is urgent. and to do something to begin the process of restoring confidence of investors and tourists and others who would be bringing money into the country. the other thing that is badly needed is security sector reform. it is a long and difficult road, but many countries have walked it before. when you go from authoritative to democratic government, you must do this thing. egypt has not even started it. we're seeing the terrible results of this, the terrible breakdown in law and order and the great anger at the police and the anger of the police, insubordination on the part of the police, strikes -- this is a
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disaster situation. you have got to have a broad consensus to do something difficult like take on security sector reform. right now, president morsi could not even do this even if he wants to. he would fear mutiny on the part of the police, which the brotherhood already fears is against them. the political opposition would not even allow him to do it. they would say this is going to be the brotherhood-ization of the police. you need to have different political forces joining together to take on these difficult programs. whoever is elected is going to have to work with others and they are going to have to deal with the bureaucracy. we are seeing the bureaucracy against the morsi government.
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this is always the problem in list thene has to cooperation. this is always the problem in the united states when a policy decision is taken -- to then get the system to implement it. it is an enormous problem in egypt. it goes back to having a broader political consensus and building trust. right now, trust between people of different political persuasions is so low and everyone is playing zero-sum politics. some groups are going to have to figure out a way to cooperate. >> i was wondering if you could comment on michelle's comment about the imperative of the brotherhood to reach across and
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deal with the challenges. you were just there. give us a feel of what the internal thinking might be at present. >> that is difficult to do with any certainty. my impression is that there is an unwillingness to realize or come to terms with the importance of the type of consensus-driven policies. many people in the brotherhood at the highest levels look at the world quite differently. they see elections have taken place and they have been legitimately elected to office.
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and so on. and that the liberal and secular forces are simply whining. i think that is a terrible mistake. we have seen an attitude that has been animating the policies of mr. morsi. we see this with the november 2 -2 22nd controversial declaration where he put himself above the law. we see this with the almost accepting of violence or tolerating, if not requesting, violence on the part of muslim brotherhood supporters. as was against peaceful post- testers -- protesters in front of the palace.
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we also see this in the discourse of the muslim brotherhood, which fails to legitimize secular groups. it calls their loyalty to egypt in question. this is unacceptable. at that level, there has been an unwillingness to engage in consensus politics, which is so desperately needed to tackle all kinds of issues, the security as well as the economic straits the country faces. >> let's continue the questioning. back there. >> jeff, thank you. ?> can you identify yourself >> sure. [indiscernible]
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thank you for putting this presentation together. i am looking forward to reading it, but since you are here to release the paper, i wonder if you could talk about the factors on how you account for turnout in elections. the other panelist, if you could address the conflict of red state versus blue state -- i think i agree with nancy in terms of the stability vote and also the hold-your-nose revolutionary vote. if you could talk about that, that would be great. >> in terms of using those four votes as an indicator for islamist support, there are some ways in which it is automatic. i have already addressed the constitutional referendum where i suggest reading those with caution, but we should not ignore them. the islamists framed the vote for the constitutional referendum that took place in december 2012 in the interim charter around article 2.
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they framed that vote that we urge you to show up and vote to protect article 2. we should not overstate it. i think we should be more cautious when we look at the two referenda as opposed to when we look at the elementary election and the vote in which islamists and non-islamists are on the ballot. i completely agree with the idea that some of the vote, particularly in the presidential election, shook out as a stability vote for for hamdeen sabbahi. in terms of turnout, i try to a count for that somewhat in the study. how themplicated egyptian lyrical system is. -- political system is. there are some practical challenges to doing this research. one of those practical challenges is the way the parliamentary elections were staged. you have runoffs.
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how do you account for that? how do you account for the fact that you have a member of the justice party against the second round? those are all limitations i am conceding. this study cannot tell you exactly what is going to happen. it is a first step. it is an open field, an interesting area of research. i'm trying to put something out there that others can build on, and turnout is a really important factor we should account for. it was telling that only 1/3 of the electorate turned out for the referendum on the permanent constitution. that is a big moment in the transition in which only 1/3 of the electorate weighed in. part of it was just fatigue. you had multi-stage elections, both in the parliament and the
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referendum before it, and you had a presidential vote. people had gone to the polls many times. you could've gone to the polls five or six times prior to that in a two-year period. >> any other reactions to the question? >> a couple of brief points. i agree that it is difficult to match up the votes on the referenda with the parliamentary presidential because there have been these stability voters going one way versus another. i am not sure i agree with you on the fatigue factor regarding the constitutional referendum in december. they had not voted since june. it was not as though it came on the heels of the presidential election. i think it was more disenchantment with the process leading up to it. that is why i asked that question about future parliamentary elections. if people are feeling unhappy, disenchanted with the political process, and if a lot of parties are boycotting, will that depress turnout?
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the other thing is, once we get more granular about looking at election results, we have to remember that not every option is available at every election. i mentioned that there was a - no liveberal candidate present in the presidential election. at some point you have to look .t candidates you also have to look at mobilization. very quick antidote -- i was an international observer in the first round of the parliamentary elections in late 2012. -- there was ar major figure that was running in that election against a
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brotherhood candidate. what happened is that there were demonstrations and questions of whether secularists were going .o boycott the elections this was november 2012. volunteers were .emonstrating there were brotherhood people out and handing out leaflets illegally. all the candidates were doing it on election day and registering voters. canada agents were watching voters in every place. agents were watching voters in every place. i saw maybe one or two of them during observing. there was a reason why he did
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not make it into the runoff. people were not there at the critical moment. i keep moving -- bringing up this mobilization question. i agree with just that it is useful to look at the big excerpt, but you can also draw a lot of lessons by looking at details and zeroing in on a few districts were very few local things happen. >> did you want to comment on that as well? 's point andn nancy jeff's takeaway is not that point in -- not that different. the was a referendum that received 77% yes vote. but you could also see it as yes and is sayinggod no was -- the army supported a yes vote.
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i think both of you are correct with regard to that. isill say that this something jeff and i have spoken about that i think the first round of the presidential elections in may 2012 is very important. , voters have an choice. when voters had a choice, they did not all vote overwhelmingly for the muslim brotherhood candidate. one candidate only received 5 million votes. that first round election indicates to us what the core support group of the muslim brotherhood party are in how limited they are. when you add up the vote of the number two candidate and the of another who did very well, the number three
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candidate, and the votes of the number five candidate, they far exceed the number of votes that another got. in thehad a choice election. chose another candidate over the muslim brotherhood. i think that is quite important. another thing i forgot to mention. over the last 60 months has been the farcical thatge of the constitution was put in place with complete disregard about others in egyptian society thought about this document. this was not a document and election to elect the city councilmember for four years.
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--s was a bout electing about electing a constitution. one would think something as important as that would have required much more broad-based support than a measly 60 something percent. that is yet another example of this disappointing attitude their freedom and justice party has displayed with regards to deepening democratic consolidation and building a which is whatacy many people in the uprising hoped for. despite some -- what was your to finger there? i want to say a little bit
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more about why the brotherhood and morsi and the freedom and justice party are resisting this consensus politics. it is an important point. be sure some people making the argument that it is because they are islamist and they are bent on sticking to the plan and there is no compromising with them because they are islamists. i see it differently. i think the brotherhood is behaving very much in the way that an opposition group phot many yearsght without having a chance to come to power and behaves when it comes to power. in other words, they feel, ok, it is our moment. the country is with us. we have to make something happen. they have their programs. then on something today of an economic development plan and so forth. they have plans they have been
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developing. they think this is their moment. they feel that everyone is out to make them fail. paranoia. feeling of it is not entirely unjustified. they feel that the bureaucracy and the police are against them. they are struggling against all odds to make this political transition. if we can just get to the next step, just get the constitution passed, if we can get to the parliamentary elections, this is their side of the story. they believe that the secular parties have no intention to compromise with them. from myt is true observation that the secular opposition is divided. even the national salvation front is divided. some want to make morsi and the brotherhood fail at any cost. bring the military in and drive the country over an economic club. does not matter. just get rid of the brotherhood. others are willing to
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compromise and are talking of boycotts and other things because they are trying to force the brotherhood to compromise with them. that is what are more a constructive approach -- that is a far more constructive approach in my view. morsi and the brotherhood have to see they are simply not succeeding in what they are doing. >> ok. we have a number of questions. of themake maybe a few together and i will let all of you guys answer at will depending on which one you want to focus on. let's do one and two and three. is aroundtion security and the impacts it have on future elections. we talked about that dealt of being a contested territory. considering the violence that we
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saw there and in the region in general, but kind of impact thed that have swaying different candidates and parties in the future and may be the overall impact of security in general on the country and changing voter patterns? >> ok. timer the courts gave to postpone the elections, has there been any reflection by morsi or the brotherhood on how to approach elections and what changes do you foresee? >> ok. again, brotherhood questions and internal thinking of the situation. yes, sir. very quickly, we are coming
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to a very serious economic lisv cliff. what do you think the u.s. should be doing with regards to the imf agreement? as the u.s. pushing the imf do have one or not to have one? just give the money to egypt? what needs to be done? >> last one and then closing comments. >> i'm working with a program in cairo. i'm here for a visit. my question stems a little bit of everything people have been saying about the response to the violence and the different reactions and the electorate in everything. my question is like, we have seen a general radicalization of society, both the victuals and
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the alarmists are becoming more radical. .e saw islam us marching we see it in the fact that they are supporting the vigilante groups now. it is the breakdown of laws that you mentioned. how can this be overcome? that point ofeach compromise and consensus. we can say that we need and people can say they're willing to do it, but if they cannot get the support, the muslim .rotherhood are losing support the breakdown of society is just around the corner. they are still getting are there and farther apart. >> why don't we focus on some of the domestic questions first, especially this important issue with the declining strength of
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islam uists. there are two different ways it can go. possibly you will move to a pluralistic and competitive system. another possibility unfortunately is what you are suggesting is increased radicalization and security conditions on the ground that is leading to chaos where all sides are checking out of the system. that is a less positive scenario. that is a very important question on where this is heading. how will the brotherhood react to it? will they react to the threats? especially the radical part of the opposition that want to see more see fail. would force them to join
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together when you are facing extremists? two of you can conclude with thoughts on the imf section that is related. how can we affect egypt that hopefully moves toward a more positive scenario? why don't we start with jeff? some interesting indicators on how the muslim brotherhood is reacting to the decision. one would be that the presidency has -- you can be that in different ways to stop we can read it that they are in denial and our prevailing against the judiciary's they have in the past. the are clearly rebelling against the judiciary as parliament has dissolved and
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having morsi sit down for one symbolic reading. another way to read is that they want more clarification on presidential power. they want to find out if morsi has the authority personally to call elections or whether he has to go through his cabinet. ivedepends on which narrate you buy. maybe samer? >> sure. with regards to the last question and what can be done to overcome the consensus, i wish i had the answer. i wish that the relative balance of power coming out of the uprising would be slightly difference so that you had a situation where you did not have on one side and
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20% secular liberal on the other side. possibly a little bit more thel power would increase likelihood of a consensus and so on. the only other thing i will say in response to the last question is that in some ways the impending election or the postponing of the election and the problems surrounding the election and the imf loan are related. one of the arguments that has is thate by the fund they cannot in good faith commit that does nott have broad-based consensus. meaning it is not approved by a legitimately elected parliament.
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until that transpires, they are giveoing to, you know, that package. there is much more going on than that and so on. that is certainly one aspect of it. the other aspect -- and this is maybe something to think about on the external role -- it is not the case and has not in the case in the past that the international immunity would allow egypt to fail. i do not think that will happen. that has not happened in the past years when egypt-based significant crises at the end of the 19 80s. they could not pay off loans in the international community came to the rescue. s of agreementslk and so on. big picture of the
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global recession of the last years. for good or for bad, the money will come and the economic cliff will be averted. of the because strategic importance and size of egypt. >> briefly on the security serious in theis delta and also upper egypt partly because of the christian communities there and the andion between islamists christians we have seen in previous elections. there can be serious security issues there as well. in terms of changing voting patterns, some people don't go. that is concerning. regarding the question on the united states, this is a difficult policy issue. getakes nerves of steel to
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it right. on one hand, the u.s. does not want egypt to go over the economic cliff. it would be irresponsible. on the other hand, i do not think the u.s. should be pushing the international monetary fund to give egypt money on the wrong terms. the bargaining between egypt and the imf is much more economic than on political terms. the egyptian government has been trying to get the imf to give them the loan on easier budgetary terms than what was originally agreed. i do not think the u.s. should strong arm the imf to do that. i think the egyptian government should make the right terms. this is not a tough, austerity program they are trying to enforce on the egyptian government. the u.s. needs to play this the
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right way. we do not want a crisis in egypt. we want to encourage sound decisions economically and the building of a political consensus. in order to make sound decisions morsi will need to take to get the imf money, he will have to have a broader political consensus. last word -- assuming we get through this crisis and there is an imf agreement and some sort of movement toward elementary elections in which there is broad participation, the u.s. should take that opportunity to help egypt much more economically. aggregator of international assistance and investment and so forth for egypt. they u.s. could easily play this kind of leadership role. morewould also give us
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leverage over egypt and encouraging the building of base of policiesoption that are responsible. >> on that optimistic note, we should end. happily.e story ends thank you, c-span for covering this. thank you to our panelists for an engaging and interesting conversation. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] senate is in session tonight working on the 20 14th federal budget and holding what is being called a voterama. war than 500 amendments have been offered.
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after a vote thomas derek spring recess will begin. they will be out for two weeks. if the president fails to submit his budget by the deadline, they will not get paid until it is submitted. all savings will be put toward reducing the deficit. another amendment submitted by senator durbin. we will take a closer look at that debate later in our program. more on the senate budget resolution tomorrow on "washington journal" with a reporter from politico. you will be able to call in or send in comments via twitter. use the #voterama. we will continue to bring you updates on the c-span network. you can watch this and at work right now on c-span 2. first day night on " ladies" she was called an during her husband's
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campaign. she dies of a heart attack before andrew jackson can take office. plays hostess at the white house. we will include your questions and comments by phone, facebook, and twitter. live on monday night on c-span, c-span 3. also on c-span radio and c- span.org. >> next is a discussion about reforming congress would former senators and former representatives. this is from the bipartisan new commission on political reform is traveling around the country. from the reagan library, this is about an hour.
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>> it's good to be here today as is the case with all of you, i am frustrated at how much potential there is for good work to be done in washington, d.c. and how little of that potential is being realized. it's fitting this series starts here at the reagan library and will culminate many months from now at the kennedy library in massachusetts. we can be reminded of two very respected, very successful, two of our most prominent presidents who i think exemplify the idea that was discussed earlier today, that bipartisan does not mean sacrificing principles but work across party lines in order to make change happen. i think you'll agree with me that we're fortunate to be
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joined by six tremendous examples of that type of bipartisan. i am joined on stage by no fewer than three former members of the senate and three former members of the house of representatives. if you remember the says my street game which one of these things the does not belong with the other, that would be me. [laughter] i'm not going to read our biographies because we only have an hour for the program and that would take all the time. i'm going to ask you to collectively welcome all of them. [applause]
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>> senator snow i'm going to start the conversation with you because as we were talking about earlier when olympian snow decided to retire, she framed a poignant, almost eloquent argument about what was wrong with washington and how frustrating that could b. -- could be. for those of you who have not heard the speech i would recommend you go online and read it. i'm not going to ask you to stand and give that speech again. >> thank you. >> but what i would ask you to do briefly and then we'll go to similar questions for the rest of your panelists. as we talked about what was
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wrong, i'd like your thoughts on what can be done which we'll start with the idea that people of good will can and should work together. how do you make that happen? >> this type of forum through an organization like the bipartisan policy center focusing on political reform is an important step in the right direction. what makes this ewe -- unique and significant is engaging the public in this. people have expressed their frustrations to me about what is happening in washington. they want to know what they can do about it and how can we change it. and i have told them and scythed example after -- cited example after example. it's only in recent years we've seen the debilitation of the
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legislative process. i think it's important to engage the public as we are doing and getting ideas on how we can reform congressionally and politically as well as reform. that's important. and that's why getting a spectrum from the public across the country is going to be crucial in this regard. and then the other part of it is using and harnessing the social media to make your elected officials accountable. there is no reason they ought to be taking recesses when they are facing a sequester frankly. the debt ceiling back in 2011. half our time in the senate between january and june, half of our time was not spent on legislative business.
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in fact in 2011 alone, it was one of the fewest number of days we've been in session since 1992 and here it was coinciding with one of the event that created the highest level of policy uncertainty of any event over the last 20 years, surpassing the wars, surpassing the financial crises, september 11th. just to name some major events. and that debt ceiling debacle did more to disrupt the public's confidence in the integrity of the political process in washington. so you have to make your elected officials accountable. have you social media, you can build an online community instantaneously and you get a message multiplier. by doing that you can find out where your law makers are. are they in session five days a week?
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they should be working. these are things you can be doing now. these are simple solutions but concrete ones. how can you deal with the issues of our day in two and a half days a week. the house is in session 11 days in february. we can make elected officials accountable here and now. those are some of the first steps. then we talk about redistricting commissions. open primaries i think is crucial. we should have by annual budget. budget.nnual d no budget, no pay. we haven't had a budget in three years. imagine that. the list goes on. i could name some others too. >> before we go on, i've already messed up my moderating duties. we are going to put on screen now the first poll question of the afternoon we're going to put to our television and our online audience.
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the question as you can see or will see in a second is the congress envisioned by our founders still able to meet the changing need of our country. and the key word is able to meet the changing needs. i think it is a strong no is it meeting the needs. but is it able to immediate the needs. vote yes or no. the forms are being streamed on the bipartisan website. you can twetet us. later in the program i'll read some of your twitter comments and we'll take live questions from people here at the reagan library. first i want to get back to the panel. senator daschle, senator snow laid out a range of useful
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reforms. she said essentially it hasn't always been like this. in the past there has been a way for the members in both parties to get along in spite of ideological differences. you and i were joking when you were majority leader that congress functioned perfectly. no one disagreed on everything and it was all comedy. i might be exaggerating slightly. but in all seriousness let's agree that the challenges in government that will always exist seem to be more difficult to surmount today than they were a decade ago and i'm wondering if you can talk about what has changed and what can reverse those trends. >> that is my story and i'm sticking to it that things were
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perfect. there were a lot of things. we dealt with a series of crisis. we had an impeachment crisis. we had a 9/11 crisis. we had an anthrax attack in my office. when you have crisis like that it brings people together. i think partly it was the circumstances and the environment we had to confront. but we also had very divisive times. the schedule has changed a lot. we would work longer weeks and people were there for a longer period of time. the venues for communication were much more readily at hand. we had -- we used to have two lunch tables that are just for senators and you'd is it family -- you'd sit family style and people would have lunch together.
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and for whatever reason that lunchroom was closed. we used to have social events where we get together and one was around our spouses and we'd salute or spouse. -- salute our spouses. we'd do things like that. but i think the single biggest thing people leave washington so much more routinely on thursday or friday and don't come back till monday or tuesday and you are left to govern on wednesday. you can't govern a country as big and sophisticated as this one is one or two days a week. they have been in session 11 days in february which we've got to ground the airplane. we're going to have to say you're going to have to stay here. maybe what we ought to do is have blocks of time where you don't go home at all. you are there from january to june and then maybe come back in august and try to work through november or something but you have big blocks of time where you are going to stay there.
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i think what happens then is the socializing would start all over again and we'd be able to do things where we would great the venues for communication that ultimately lead to cooperation and trust and then finally to enactment of legislation. we have to find better ways with which people can create routine communication and that's been lost. >> a fascinating point. i hope to explore it further in a moment. if you think about it the senator is talking about changing rules can have benefit. what i hear you saying is at the core of it is the ability of people to get to know each other, respect each other and get comfortable working together even if they don't always agree on everything. >> congressman chris cox you traveled to washington every week for many years for some reason. it probably took you longer to
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get from your home district to washington than just about any other congressman in the united states. suppose as the organization no labels has suggested instead of a tuesday to thursday schedule. what if congress stayed in session full three weeks of the month then had a week of the month back in the district. you get the same time back in your district. -- back in your district. are there ways you can suggest to get people from different side to work together better? >> i agree with the objective. first, you need people around in order to talk to one another. if you've ever been in the congress, in the house or congress and watched.
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it fascinating to look down on the floor and it looks like a whole bunch of people milling around at a cocktail party. but what is going on is a lot of different transactions in all these little groups. it would be a fascinating thing for a political scientists because they are exploring these issues today to somehow in real time capture these conversations and see how much is getting done. it can't happen if people aren't there. you need a work schedule. this hyper part ship isn't just limited to congress. it isn't just about the limitation of the rules or schedule that congress follows. it's going on across the country. there is a fascinating study by
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an academic at stanford that asked the following question of adults throughout america. would you be concerned if your child married someone of the opposite political party if you're republican and they were to marry a democratic and vice versa. 1960.as asked in they asked again in 2010. in 1960 less than 5% would be concerned. in 2010 40% said they would not want to this to happen. you can over lay this on the question about race. would you be concerned if your child married someone of a different racial group. in 1960 only 5% would be comfortable with marrying outside their group.
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today 86% are comfortable with it. the nation is much more tolerant of diversity and one another in a social sense, but politically we are more intolerant than we've ever been before. this is something that members of congress deal with because they come from this country. we've got to deal with as a society as well as the institution of congress. it starts with the lack of civility that's been introduced into the discourse about political matters through the proliferation of unminded infotainment. i'm sure there will be ample time to talk about this in subsequent sessions. but we can put a finger on a lot of causes outside of congress. congress in order to work is going to have to notice this, realize it and take affirmative
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action to get themselves out of that bind. >> i think that is a dead on point. it critically important. a "new york times" columnist talks at the me network and how in this age of technological advances every one of us can construct an information environment that only reinforces what we already believe. if you think about it, it's human nature. i want to reach out to the smartest people in the world. i want to read the smartest people, i want to listen to the smartest people. who are the smartest people? the people who agree with me. depending on who you are those people hang out on fox news or msnbc but really on both. congress makes a point that creates a particular challenge for members of congress i'm going to come to congressman gonzales on this.
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schwarz talks about most citizens are not and should not be bipartisan. most have strong ideological beliefs. ideological lines to find opportunity for cooperation. chris cox is right. we live in an ipod nation as voters. it much harder does it make for congress to reach out across party lines given those challenges and what can be done to make that challenge less onerous. >> that was talked about earlier. the context is in my belief that american society is undergoing tremendous transformation and change at a time when we have downward economic mobility.
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that's a dangerous mix. we haven't done a good job of being leaders. many things happen to people that want to lead. many times when they lead, the result is they are no longer in the leadership position. whether that's the way congress or the electorate defeats you on a single issue. it's about bipartisanship. it's not about non-partisanship. i'm always going to be a democratic. when i was born i was baptized as a democratic. that's not going to change. what do we have as legislative tools. forget about the position that may or may not cost you the election. we can talk about that.
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but we had a long discussion last night. i truly believe in the house. i have no idea what goes on in the senate, only what i read. but the question comes out committees. chris and i served on financial services. so i got to serve under a couple of chairs, jim bleach and mike gossly. i'm on energy and commerce now. but it was the inclusion of the minority in the legislative process and it was at the committee level you really established your relationships. i know whether we spend less time or more time in washington nothing is going to work unless we come together at those times when we really get to know one another. in my opinion that is at the committee level. if we can do something and work something there. i'm not sure how leadership exerts its leadership on chairs and ranking members of committees and subcommittees. but there in lies the answer. it's a tremendous strength.
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i've always been hopeful that the chairs and the ranking members would understand the importance of including the minority. you know what happens when you are in the majority, you are going to win every one of the votes. it's just the way it was. but things change drastically. that is one of the answers. i don't think that we're ever going to get away from being partisan. it's a question of whether your willing tons compromise and that you will survive an election because of the fact that you compromised. j.f.k. wrote the book profiles and courage. he couldn't write that book today because he wouldn't have any subjects. you get defeated on a vote much less a substive one. >> i think it's a critical point the distinction between non- partisan and bipartisan. someone who is non-partisan says higher taxes no taxes, no big deal.
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amnesty, deportation, whatever. but i think it's not about people abandoning their principles but finding common ground with people, even if they can't agree on everything, finding some things on which to agree. >> i was just a house member. >> president clickman. a if anybody else would like promotion, let us know. we have another half an hour. >> members of congress as congressman talks about get elected to represent a district. longuld have a conversation about redistricting and about how in most states in this country if you are elected in a seat that is overwhelmingly a democrat or republican you are never going
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to lose that seat unless you compromise with somebody on the other side. but two people get elected by everybody in the united states. isseems to be i know this something you've thought about given your time in the president. a president of the united states has a unique role to reach out to both sides in congress. without getting into a current events debate, i think we can agree looking back at the president after who this library was named, president reagan and the president after whom the last stop on this tour, president kennedy both exemplified an ability for presidents to work across party lines and try to bring the two parties together. talk if you can a little bit from your perspective in the house and in the administration about the role a president can
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play in helping members of congress over come the challenges others have talked about. the think we focus on congress and we forget that half the government is the executive branch, taking the court out. you can't because it's a key part of the thing. you can't talk about the operation without looking at the whole government and that includes the president of the united states. history's role is in this. if you saw "lincoln." you saw how president lincoln wanted to get the 13th amendment passed. wasonly way he could do it to manipulate and bribe, which we can't do today, to try to persuade the congress to go along with him. you remember the scene he send a fwy out to find the guy he would give a post master ship to if he goes his way.
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and he ultimately votes with the president. the role of the executive branch particularly in the modern world with all the complex problems we have is so politically important because only the president represents all the people and the president is the one that congress disposes. you have to have presidential engage. you talked about president reagan did this and president johnson did this and in my judgment president clinton did this remarkably well. and i think president obama is getting better. today he's meeting with 13 senators tonight at the jefferson hotel in washington. which maybe our conference helped move along. but it is tough -- i want to mention one other thing.
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it's tough because it's hard tore deal with the congress and sometimes it's unless tonight deal with the congress. choice,e is no other the president must engage. but one of the other issues i want to raise quickly is another factor, and charlie you talked about this a bit. in the days we were building this country, the space program and all these wonderful things it was easier to work together. let's look at the things they are dealing with today, sequester, how are we going to cut medicare, social security, how are we going to get the budget down. these are tough. these are politically difficult positions to take. in an environment where everything is just cutting and reducing, it's not natural for people to enjoy doing the job under those circumstances. they don't necessarily feel as
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positive towards each other and friendly to reach out for common ground. i think that's another factor why it's so difficult for people to get together. >> thank you, we appreciate it. the'm going to come to reverend last. i had the good fortune of attending a service a few years ago and my salvation is about expired so i'll be coming soon for renewal. i think you can take this to a broader level. senator snow made a couple of important points but the one that stuck with me more than anything sells holding politicians accountable.
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several people on twitter have made that point making sure that the elected representatives remember who they represent. you left congress some years ago because you believed there was a better way to make a difference in a community in society. from everything i've seen and read, part of that is making sure that your parishioners understand they play a vital role in holding your elected officials accountable. maybe you can talk about the best way of reminding a citizen, a parishioner, a voter or non- voter who is busy and has all these other obligations in life that politics is too important to be left to the politicians and they need to be involved too. >> it is not from politics but where i came from the early stages of my life and that is dealing with the reality that relationship matters and that concept of relationship matters in congress was very help to feel me.
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because when i had an issue, it was generally a means -- it brought me to a place where i had to talk to some other congress people. i had a part in trying to deal with the loans crisis that was under my subcommittee. i realized this was a major challenge. i could not do it alone. and a lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle had issues with relationship to how the process was going to work. because i think chris and others would say, when reverend flake came into the house every day, he greeted everybody and shook hand and wrapped his arms around everybody. by the time you get to a problem you should have a good relationship with the people you are with. inon't see that happening the congress today. ofre is not that kind
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relationship and further more, we had our thursday group where we met, republicans, democrats, we had our own little worship service every thursday morning. republicansame and came and we got to know each other. whenever an issue came up, whether it was brought by a democratic or republican didn't matter. what mattered was we understood we had somebody we could talk to on the other side and that person on the other side generally would agree with what we were trying to do especially if they had a piece of legislation they were working on or anticipating was coming before them. and so when you lose that concept of the value and meaning of relationship, whether it's in business, whether it's in politics, whether it's in anything, you lose that ability to have that support system available to you which and i think that's one of the things that many of the younger
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democrats and republicans that i see come into congress, they are coming raw. they don't seem to have the kind of background skills that gives them that capability to understand that we are in this thing together. part of my life, i spent 7 years with exocx, i've had to manage people. -- spent 7 years with xerox, i've had to manage people. and managing people the first thing you learn, the only way you succeed is you get people on your side early on and then you can solve the problem when the problem comes about. >> we've been getting questions via twitter over the first thirty minutes of the panel. one of the questions i picked out which has been answered is what role does civility play in getting things done between the two side of congress.
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each of the panelist has addressed that in a way. if we can put up the answers to our poll question. bythe congress envisioned our founders still able to meet the needs of our country yes 49%, no 51%. if i were working in politics this would be my cue to call for a revote or recount. the country is very split. in other words, the hopeful but skeptical. hopeful we can do better but skeptical the officials can. i'm going to make this a lightning round in order to get to audience questions. i'm going to open up a question from michael s. what are the one or two top actions we can take to restore competent government? hasink every one of you talked about the broader
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principles of trust and cooperation, the role of the voters, the role of the executive. when it comes to nuts and bolt changes, changing rules that can create an incentive for people to work across party lines, i'm wondering if anyone can offer a legislative or statutory change that might help the process along and grow the kind of trust that you've all talked about. and that is a question i'll open up to the floor. aboutve talked a little this already. but i would say that the two things that would have the biggest impact would be the money chase and how much time we spend trying to raise money and how much time away that takes us from the legislative process. and then i think the way -- the primary system today and the effect that it has on members. we've created an intimidation
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that is very concerning to a lot of members. they are worried about losing a primary, not a general but losing a primary. if i were going to address one thing it would be the money and the way we elect the people in our political process today. >> money and primaries essentially means redistricting reform. many years ago in 1999 i worked for the presidential campaign of senator john mccain. takei learned is if you the word campaign finances reform and string them together enough times you can take the most politically obsessed audience in the world and put them to sleep. we've learned redistricting reform is this is not the kind of things that voters wake up and think about. and think about streets parks.
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a question for any panelist, how do you get people, voters, to focus on something that sounds like inside baseball, but could have a profound effect that the senator is talking about? >> one way to do is to let everything go to hell, which is happening now, and they can say how come we are not fixing this? to provide a bookend for the focus on the campaign money that candidates have to raise, we can focus on what dan mentioned, people's money, that congress is responsible for appropriating and budgeting. the government might not be responsible for everything, but they are certainly responsible for our money, and they are responsible for allocating what they collect from taxpayers. as the secretary general has
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said, rationing is a painful thing that puts everything out. the process can help. kinds of rules can we put in place? we operate on a budget process that was legislated in 1974. theher it was ceded to time, other people can argue. iis is a lightning round so say it is not suited to the current time, it is badly broken, and republicans and democrats baptized that way who are principled and not going to change should disagree about what our priorities of what the spending are, but not about spending money that we do not have. we need to force those choices and let people vote on which ones when. >> to follow up, i think that having competitive primaries is extremely critical, because
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people otherwise are left with note choice other than those candidates who are really on the right or left, because of the way the system is designed. they take that frame of reference to the house and the senate and you cannot get people to realign and work together and solve problems. it is one thing to have the party positions out there and voting on them, but when they fail, where you go next? if they are not willing to move forward, try to modify the legislation, reconcile the differences, you cannot move legislation forward, and if we cannot move the country forward. the whole budget process. it is exhibit a under dysfunction. in the senate, and a sense that we have not had a budget in
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three years. that enforces discipline. we are required by law and the budget resolution, a statutory requirement by april 15, and we have ignored it for three consecutive years. that has to happen. it is not as if we have been overwhelmed in the past with our schedule. i mentioned that this morning. the only thing that was predictable was our recess scheduled. we had sufficient time to address these issues. once you lose the discipline on that factor, you lose your discipline on everything else. the idea of no budget, no pay, which is endorsed, hopefully goes forward, it is one way of forcing the accountability on the part of elected officials. but it has to happen. people should demand that they are there five days a week, and as tom was saying, a certain senate when tom was majority and minority leaders, and we had a 50-50 senate in 2001.
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and the tie was broken by vice president cheney. we got through it. there were a lot of bipartisan initiatives. he did a great job. we confuse our differences and we cannot do that anymore. i think that we have to return to the basic and demand that. on thursday, you could smell the jet fumes and everybody is out of town. >> for our guests and audience, i will put in a quick advertisement for california's redistricting reform which has taken steps to create competitive districts that our panelists have talked about. also the primary, which sends the top two vote-getters on to the general election time regardless of party.
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this creates the kind of competitive elections and accountability our panelists have talked about. clearly, a not very thrilling conversation for someone who does not obsess about politics to come to the reagan library in the middle week to hear a conversation like this one, but critical changes in the rules that can ultimately create accountability we have talked about. we can go to audience questions in a few minutes, but a few of our panelists have not had a chance to weigh in on a question from twitter about structural or statutory change that might be made to encourage cooperation. any thoughts? >> the person is posing the question feels that there is a procedural rules that we can do and how we operate in the house and senate that suddenly will
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make it a place where maybe there will be compromise and there will be consensus building. ourhe house i go back to committee structure, but i would like to turn that around and ask the electorate and that particular individual who submitted the question to empower their representative to be flexible, to compromise, and not pay the big price of the primary. houses what i see on the side, no flexibility, no wiggle room. they were collected saying a certain thing and when they get there they have to be 100% pure on that issue, even if it is just that one issue. >> if you think about it from a clinical cost-benefits point, being intractable and inflexible and unwilling to compromise under any circumstances is a smart career move. >> it will get you reelected. bebers -- you would
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surprised in conversations you have, because the sense is that maybe if you enjoy a better relationship, but even with that, they still have to go back and there will still be a primary, and we know how that works. it is a question about maybe the voter being somewhat -- i do not want to be better educated, but you understand that an effective member has to negotiate and has to compromise to come to some sort of final product. otherwise you will never get a final product. >> i agree with -- what is the biggest problem we face today? it is this fiscal crisis, the budget. andlies are looking at it saying i have got to deal with this all the time, and you guys cannot deal with it. the biggest thing to me would
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be the leadership of congress to recognize that the budget process has to be utilized in a way that gets this issue resolved, because if we go every three months with more indecision and 11th-hour -- january 2 decision-making, the frustration that people have to live their lives and cannot figure out the process, it will drive them nuts and create the most negative feelings in the world. it is the responsibility of leadership to make this process work, and they have to act like leaders, like tom daschle did and some of the other folks. >> changing the rules might change the incentive structure, but ultimately is about the men and women who go to washington. oni would like to add something that olympia and dan had said, that budget process is completely broken.
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there are three layers. first, there is the budget, then the authorizing, and the appropriation process, and none of those are working today. we hardly ever pass anything authorizing. we have to have a major reform of the way we make budgetary decisions, because that process is now so encumbered. olympia mentioned this morning and it bears repeating, we have to go to a two-year budget cycle. trillion- do a multi- dollar budget and a couple of months, especially if you are only there on wednesday. we have to have more opportunity to think more carefully and constructively, and that takes a two-year cycle. i think the time has come for us to go to back something that was mentioned.
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in the 1970's we changed it, and we got to go back and streamlined the process a lot more. >> it is a great point, and we slipped past chris' suggestion. maderd and general motors cars to the way they did in the early 1970's, that would be a problem. forre reagan had run president in 1980 on tom dewey's platform, if bill clinton had run for president on adlai stevenson's platform, these would not have worked so well. >> ronald reagan faced these challenges because he had to deal with a badly broken budget process that was a product of the 1974 act. wasof my responsibilities to draft the decision for reagan called the budget process
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reform act that would deal with these things. i introduced it. we had over 200 sponsors. we had a bipartisan sponsorship in the senate. as you can see from problems we are experiencing, the process has never changed. if you want to find something that is capable of being completely bipartisan, multi- partisan, omni-partisan, it is fixing the budget process in a neutral way, because once you subtract everybody's passionate ideology, it is easier to come to agreement about putting a whole thing in a box and making sure there are priorities. hasng sure the system teeth, because the big problem is you can blow off the process and people do.
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>> we started a few minutes late, so we have time for audience questions. if anybody has a question, please raise your hand. i will ask the same thing of you, that when you stand, identify yourself, and if you have a question for someone with whom you might disagree, we ask you remember that person might be a political opponent, but not a mortal enemy, and you have to frame that question with the same level of regard that you would have them ask you. >> hi, i'm jesse. enormous deal with the debt in a bipartisan way? >> he congratulated the panel on the brilliance of their presentation. [laughter] i have to agree. a little embarrassing.
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daschle,ion, senator you talked about a country and its elected representatives needing a crisis to come together. it seems we have one. how can congress -- i will ask the reverend to answer -- how can we address a seminal crisis like this one? >> we have to weigh the outcomes in terms of the negatives that had prevail and make a decision that if everyone is going to that survive and if they are born to do what is best for the people, it is in everybody's best interests for them to work together and come to conclusions that everybody may not agree with, but agree with, as we did in the old days, that they can work with it, and most of us sitting here know you never had a piece of legislation that got it done by first time. fourof it you go three or times before, because you have
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to get everybody in the mix, and if you are not talking to people, it is not going to happen. there has to be that connection and that kind of relationship that says we are quite to do this. do this. going to both sides come together and make it happen. >> once again, more rules, less attitude. other questions. >> hi, i am wondering with everything that is going on with the solutions that we have have to bring up to fix the debt, it brings up so much difference in how to fix the problems politically on both sides, and i am wondering -- i wrote this down earlier -- is the american experiment going into the fail because of party politics? >> what is your name?
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>> matthew. >> great question, matthew. >> i know everyone believes that this is a crisis i know in the history of the united states, and i assure you we have had crises of the same dimension. i remember in the 1960's what it was like, and the assassination of a president, martin luther king jr., robert kennedy, in a series of how many years. if that did not destroy us, and not set us on the course of irreconcilable differences, i do not what would have. what we are facing today is a financial crisis, and the answer -- i think it was jesse who said -- democrats have to come to the table and say we're
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willing to do something about social security and medicare. we will do something about spending. and republicans have to come and say we do not have a fair tax system and we are going to change the tax code to raise more revenue. ofe you do that, a lot people are going to be defeated. that will their last legislative accomplishment if they are able to come to an agreement. ito not think that suddenly is the fault or woe is me and this is the end of the greatest democracy known in the history of this world. not at all. >> any panelist who would like to take it, but the congressman makes an excellent point, we have been divided to more dramatically, but over much larger stakes, over questions of slavery, suffrage, whether an individual should be counted as 3/5 of what human being.
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whether the top marginal tax rate is set at 31% or 35% is important, but in that context it seems like we can come together. we have one more question. wouldwondering if anybody want to talk about the scope of the challenge. we have always faced problems. it is a question of how you address the problem, how you tackle it. process often dictates policy. it really needs to start with the rank and file going back to the committee process. there is virtually no committee process at least in the senate where you are charged with the responsibility of addressing the debt question, for example, or whether or not you are going to reform the tax code, and you have a process by which both sides have to work at out. it does not come
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instantaneously. people have these unrealistic expectations, and lawmakers with 30 seconds think they are run to overhaul the deficit. you have to have a process. now every package we get has been 11th-hour, crafted by the leadership behind closed doors. it concentrates the power in the hands of leadership and takes at away from the rank and file. ae give-and-take gets you to place where i did not get everything i wanted, but i get some of what i want it. everybody does not expect to get 100%. aredo not expect that you going to get 100% adopted. the same is true in congress. they have to reconcile those differences. the only way to do that is still a legitimate process. it has to be bipartisan. somebody is on to say,
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bipartisanship is not a theory, it is a political necessity. ifi am going to have to ask we have time for one more question. we have time. you guys are lucky, at least one of you is. >> we will get to a microphone in one second. would you please come up here. >> i'm a dentist in the san fernando valley dental society. one of the major concerns in this country is the affordable health care act, and there is a lot of concern about that. i have to ask senator daschle, senator snowe, if we will ever repeal that, but we will be able to modify it because people are concerned, increases in
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whatever they have to pay for their health insurance, whether they will be able to get enough health care because there will not be enough people to provide that care, because more people are on it. i would like their comments on that, because it is dividing the country. >> i will ask senator daschle to address that huge amount of debate, of vitriol surrounded its passage, but it becomes clear that some adjustments are needed. reasonable people can disagree to the extent of the adjustments, but some will need to be made going forward. maybe you could talk about what might need to be done to adjust the act. >> when it comes to health care -- and i think people are much more together than we really realize. there's no disagreement in our
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country today that we have costs, access, and quality issues of an enormous proportions. thepend more on health in united states than the next 10 countries put together. ondo not rank in the top 25 quality in almost any other category today. not even in the top 25. we have a long way to go, and there is unity on the causes. we have real issues with regard to unnecessary care. about 1/3 of what we spend is unnecessary. we have a lot of tort reform issues. the only sector in the economy where at the time of purchase where we do not know where it is on the cost or who is going to pay. there is common ground on the law. everybody wants it. we want to produce a high value of care in the marketplace with better access, better quality, lower costs. no disagreement. the real disagreement comes on what the role of government is
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in accomplishing that goal, and there lies the challenge of the affordable care act. last year there were two near- death experiences, the supreme court decision and the election. the affordable care act is the law, and we have to figure out a way to make it work better and dealing with this ongoing debate about what the proper role of government should be. we know the status quo is unsustainable. when i was born, health care was 4% of the cost of gdp. itn my children were born, was 8%. grandchildren, 16%. if i'm lucky enough to have great-grandchildren, it will be 32% of gdp. that is unsustainable. we have to figure out what is the right structure today to deal with costs, access, and quality and all the products, and once we do that, and i am confident we can move in that direction if we do it in a collective and concerted way.
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>> i want to congratulate our questioner for helping us put our finger on the intersection between the very significant policy issues that tom just laid out and the process and the rules and the way congress functions that have been the subject of this panel. if you think about the affordable care act as being manufactured, how it came to become, not only is it merely unique in its size and scope as a monumental piece of legislation, many, many pages, very difficult to read and understand, and so on, and took a lot of work, but also it was passed in an entirely partisan manner. it is wise to do a little listening and make sure that both major parties are involved. you could say the same thing
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about the dodd-frank act. legislativer accomplishments that i had were bipartisan, and i would not have been able to accomplish big things in congress if i had not worked across the aisle. countrya mistake as a and the congress when we try to undertake these big, big game- changing things without getting buy-in from the major parties together. >> we have quite a few more questions. this leaves us two options. we can continue the panel to a length that will satisfy me, but unfortunately we cannot stay quite that long. our second option is it is time to wrap up, so in just a i will ask you to thank our panelists. i'll take a moment of privilege. almost 30 years ago i drove from my home in wisconsin to washington in order to work for
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president reagan's reelection campaign. i have close friends and family members who did the same thing in order to work for other campaigns at all levels in both parties. that was special to come back to a library honoring my first boss in politics, to talk not only about one individual's accomplishments, but to talk about how good men and women of a wide range of ideologies and partisan backgrounds can come together on behalf of the common good. we learned a lot in the course of this hour and 10 minutes. what i will take away is a change in the rules, but it is about the women and men who we send to represent us, and what that tells me is something that i have come to believe more strongly than anything else that i've learned as an observer -- politics is too important to be left to the politicians.
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if you want the system to work, whether in your city, state, or country, it requires the active involvement of every single one of us as citizens. in a moment, i will ask you to thank our panelists, but for audience members who care enough about this to come today, to watch this on television, or participate, give yourselves a round of applause for helping lead a discussion on american democracy. one gentleman is giving himself a standing ovation, and that is entirely appropriate. that's also before we thank our panelists, let's thank the people at the bipartisan policy center to create common ground so both parties can come together and do work.
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thank you all very much. thes thank our hosts at reagan library, for being so gracious and willing to begin this series of conversations, to all of you work so hard on behalf of the former president's memory. usnk you for joining with today. and finally, all you join me in joining our panelists for a fascinating conversation. we will take a minute or two of a break, and then the next panel discussion. thanks again. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by
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national captioning institute] republican senator tom coburn talks about spending and the budget as well as the debate over gun legislation. he proposed 23 amendments to the bill and propose not to speak -- not to seek a third term. what newsmakers at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. believe in does something that is so right, so dear, so necessary, you have to get in trouble. before we got into trouble as do this, we studied. we did not wake up one morning
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and say we want to sit in. we denied just dream one day that we are going to come to march onn nand washington , that he would march from selma to montgomery as we did in 1965. we studied and prepare ourselves. black power. itn they use that phrase, made people think black power meant the destruction, blowing up the statue of liberty or ground zero. destroying america. it was not anything about destroying america. it was about rebuilding america and having a new paradigm in terms of how we could truly be with each -- when each of us did that pledge in high school about the land of the free and the home of the brave.
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>> congressman john lewis and john carlos discuss their personal experiences during the civil rights movement live from the virginia festival of the book. saturday at 8:00 eastern, part of book to be this weekend on c- speaking of c-tv span2. >> a look at the cost of the iraq war with professor linda blimes. "e is co-author of the book the three trillion dollar war,' this is about an hour. >> thank you. the next part of the program has to do with a dressing some of
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the economic causes of the war, we do with addressing some of the economic costs of the war. there is no one better than the professor, who is a senior lecturer at harvard. she is best known as the author of the 2008 book, of the three trillion dollar war, the true cost of the conflict. it casts a spotlight on the direct and indirect cost of the war. she is one of the leading experts in the united states, studying the cost of war with a particular focus on long-term costs relating to weapons.
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she has written extensively on topics of wartime spending and its impact on consideration. theis also contributing to recent cost of war project, which has established a website following these issues. herre fortunate to have address this legacy of the iraq war, a war the officials testified at the time has paid for itself. please join me in welcoming the professor. [applause] >> thank you very much for the kind introduction.
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i am really pleased to be here today at this wonderful institution. as i was preparing for this talk, i was reading some of the papers from 2000 to end 2003, particularly by jessica mathews, and they argue compellingly -- they were some of the few voices arguing compellingly that the u.s. had other options they could have pursued. as we all know, the advice was ignored, and there were a number of other voices of the time that called for restraint. there were a number of voices and suggested the war could cost far more than we anticipated, but as is typical, favor of going to war our most optimistic about how long it is going to take and
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how much it is going to cost, and you may recall 10 years ago we were told the war needed to before the summer became too hot for our troops and that it would be quick and cheap. 10 years later the decision to ignore it has cost us. you may recall before the war the bush and ministration predicted the war would cost about $50 billion to $60 billion. that was the estimate from donald rumsfeld and dick cheney. the top advisor in the bush administration was fired for saying the war might cost of to $200 billion.
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larry wrote a book in which he argued many of the problems that occurred early in the war were related to the fact no one early on was willing to confront the true potential cost in those early days. today the u.s. has spent two trillion dollars in direct outlays for iraq. at this point, as we are thinking about the difference between 50 billion and three trillion, i usually remind my students about the difference between 1 billion and one trillion, up because they sound the same. thinking about it, we know if you had a million thousand dollar bills stacked on the table, it would be 4 inches high, and 1 billion would be 350 feet, which the washington monument is 555 feet, and the
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capitol dome is 258 feet, so it is in that range. one trillion is 55 miles higher. three are really talking about an order of magnitude bigger when we think about the war costs. the out of pocket cost is just a fraction of the total cost. there are many causes. there are costs to the region. there are opportunity costs, but this morning i am going to focus on three areas of implications as follows. first i want to argue one of the most significant challenges to future u.s. security policy is not going to stem from an external threat but simply coping with legacy of cost from the iraq war, from wars we have already fought.
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second, i will argue the cost of war are not only hide but unpredictable. the iraq war cost more than estimated, but it also set off a chain of events that have far reaching and economic consequences, and third, we discovered the u.s. lacks any kind of system to track work costs, and by ignoring the costs, and we made it much easier to make poor choices. let me turn to the legacy of costs. the legacy is a long-term commitment we have made to members of the military and their families. historically, the war costs always come to 30 years to 40 years after the war.
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the peak was in 1969, more than 50 years after armas dies. the peak year for paying world war ii veterans benefits was in the late 1980's. payments to war veterans is still climbing. even the first gulf war, which lasted a few weeks, is a war that cost us more than $5 billion a year in disability benefits, which is twice the annual cost of paying for national parks. the magnitude of future expenditures will be much higher for iraq, because this war has been characterized by a more generous benefits and new expensive treatments. between 2001 and today, the
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department has increase in real terms from $61 billion a year to $140 billion a year, so from 2% of the u.s. budget to 3% of the u.s. budget. due of this growth was specifically to the iraq and afghanistan war. when i speak about veterans, i am including iraq and afghanistan veterans, because so many of the veterans fought in both wars, and the v.a. does not keep statistics separate. when you think about many of the injuries and traumas that occurred as a result of the
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past decade of war, it has been the accumulative effect, for example posttraumatic stress after severe fire fighting in iraq. i do not want to overlaid and you with statistics, but i am about to, so let me go through a few numbers. mene 2002, the number of and women who have been deployed to iraq and afghanistan is 2.5 million. 1.5 6 million have returned home and left active duty and become eligible for veterans care and benefits. we knew looking at the history of past wars when joe's a good and i were writing in 2008, we knew there would be it long term cost consequences. we predicted the cost of medical benefits would grow. 45%redicted know by today of veterans would be receiving medical care in the va and the 40% would have applied for disability benefits. we were wrong.
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our estimates were far too long. the va is treating not 45%, but more than 56%, which is more than 850,000 people. more than 50% of return veterans have already applied for permanent disability benefits, of which, 98% get approved. this reflects a great deal of suffering. a3,000 troops have suffered dramatic brain injury, of which 20% have been moderate to severe. one-third of veterans returning are diagnosed with mental health conditions, and many concurrent with dramatic now brain injury. 149,000 are disabled.
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in addition to veterans' benefits they also qualify for social security. as in previous wars, medical and disability compensation will rise of veterans get older and suffer complications. we have also found that our system for transferring to civilian life is fundamentally broken. the va has been more than $5 billion every year for the past four years to hire more claims processing employees and to update i.t. systems, but as you probably read in newspapers, the backlog for claims is more than 1 million, and it keeps growing. veterans of the war,
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particularly when veterans are suffering from rigid when veterans are suffering from high levels of unemployment, substance abuse, and divorce than the civilian population their age. when you take into account the amount we have already spent for veterans' medical care and disability benefits and all the computer investments, readjustment counseling, etc., it comes to $134 billion, but we estimate there is another $836 billion that has already accrued in these disability benefits and social security benefits, and but as the present value of of what we will zero in the next 40 years, not even counting what happens after the veterans retire.
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what we see here is you had three governments in the delta or two in the delta that majorities rejected the constitution. it only passed by a percentage. overall support dropped for the interim charter. that passed with 77%. either you will have 64 yes. newly significant drop in turnout. owing a third of the electorate turned out to vote for the permanent constitution. what are the main takeaways? the main takeaways are that islamists do quite well in upper egypt in the outline governments of the west.
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whereas, also in north sinai, non-islamists do well in cairo, south sinai, and sparsely populated governments abutting the red sea. the delta is contested territory, surprisingly so. we see an opportunity for non- islamists. they underperform their national averages. there is a macro trend, which is support for islamists is raining over time. we see their are high water marks within the first referendum, the first election that occurred after the transition am at which point they have been bleeding support.
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what are the implications going forward? i am not here to advocate that the national salvation should participate in the elections. that is their choice. it is a complicated calculation behind that. there could be good reasons for not participating. i'm not suggesting they would get a majority of seats. those groups combined to get a small percentage in the first election. they would outperform as they did in the 2011-2012 elections to be more competitive. i think the trend line that i am identifying here, i take a study approach that is very data- driven. if you take a more qualitative approach, and you look at developments, recent development the region, they tend to support these main trendlines.
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for example, you have a lot of opposition that has been galvanized by president morsi's november 22 degree in which he expanded the power of the executive. he placed his decisions above judicial review. there is galvanized a lot of opposition. you have had major protests in the port cities. and, they don't necessarily have to do with directly the support for islamists or support for non-islamists, but they have taken on as a political turn and spread more broadly throughout the country. also you have had a change in the relative cohesiveness of actors. one of the advantages of the
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islamists in previous elections is they are pretty cohesive. you have had some splintering among some groups. doves of those groups breaking away from the start of the homeland party. you have contentions within other communities. you have also had recent changes in the electoral formula you going to play to the strengths of non-islamist. a recent decision by the supreme constitutional court which mandated that representation in parliament be proportional to the size of the electorate in that district or government. traditionally, upper egypt, though southern governments have had disproportionate representation. it was a strategy of the previous regime. there is lower clinical consciousness there. those areas were easier to deliver for the national democratic party. the areas that are going to get
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these under the new formula are cairo, a lot of seats in the delta. as this analysis has shown, it does well in the delta territory. there are a lot of trendlines that played well of the favor of non-islamist. >> thank you jeff. we will broaden the discussion. i'm what a start for questions with my panel. what i would like to do first is turned to you for reactions. starting with this whole analysis that jeff is presenting about the balance of power in the losing influence or declining influence of the islamists, the fracturing within, and so forth. to what extent do you agree with these analyses?
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maybe also the question as to what extent these elections play a role to other factors in the transition. because they are not isolated. i to make sure we think of the broader context here. >> sure. i need to command jeff and his co-author for their report. it is a very interesting report. it is a very good report. what we should immediately take away is the fact that now, when elections actually have integrity, and the voting pattern mean something, we can empirically study outcomes.
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we could not do this before, because the primary deterrent in elections in egypt and are mubarak was election fraud. those of us who study elections, we had to guess which districts the voting was -- had some integrity. and which didn't. this is the first of the i've seen, and hopefully we will see more. i agree generally with some of the conclusions that are drawn from this. the fact that there is a geographical aspect of voting with regard to islamists. maybe i would phrase it differently, this is an area which i would think with be excluded from the delta. i city of 5 million people and so on. i think voted for him, the socialist candidate, in the first round of the egyptian election.
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it into not be as favorable to islamists. of course, more rural areas tend to be more favorable to islamists. we can maybe even go beyond thinking about gender fee, and thinking about what this means in terms of socioeconomic class. it is very important. i think what we will find there's been some research that has been done in a very initial stage to try and documented this. the danish egyptian network, they tried to argue that there is a relationship between wealth and education and voting. in fact, the more education, the less likely one is to vote for islamists.
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in fact, we could even -- the data shows this, less education, lower wealth, one is more likely to vote for not just islamists, but other groups. that is a very important point and in line with the findings and the arguments that are made here. i also think that the other general trend, without overemphasizing it, is also valid. we are likely to see decreasing electoral strength for islamists generally. there are many reasons for that. some are quite simple.
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the is up until 2011, up until the uprising, islamist groups are really the only serious political actors other than mubarak's party that took the election seriously. there was good reason for that. if you are a rational voter, you stayed home, because you knew that your vote didn't mean anything. the large significant liberal political currents also didn't participate in elections. many of the parties we see are emerging now. as the liberal secular parties gets more established, established brand names, which they don't have, this is another issue.
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the muslim brotherhood has a brand name. it is a recognizable commodity. people know what they are voting for when they vote for the muslim brotherhood. that is true for the southeast as well. i don't that can be said for some of the liberal parties. it might be able to be said for the west party, a very old liberal per market pre-egyptian revolution party. it can be said of other political liberal secular parts. as these become more established, as they gain experience, as they hopefully do outreach, community work, have a presence outside the major cities and so on, do work of organization, half of success is organization. this is been a wonderful job of this. the liberal secular parties have not done a very good job of this. as these groups engage in this kind of grassroots politics, i would hope that their fortunes would do better. there is another reason why islamists are likely to do less
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well in the coming years. that is because up until the present, islamists have not been tested. mr. morsi now has been tested. since august 2012, and the situation is not good. there has been significant, deterioration. rising on employment, millions unemployed. there is a liquidity crisis. there is the withdrawal of foreign direct investment, there is the downgrading of the teaching -- egyptian economy, the appreciation of the egyptian pound, and serious security issues in the country. voters in egypt, like elsewhere, respond to conditions. right now, the conditions are the trend line not positive.
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that will have an impact. i think they're likely to do better. just the last point i will make, i don't know if this comes up in the report, that is something to think about. at one level is true, the imperious about this need to be investigated and little more thoroughly, to what extent is election competition in egypt for islamists, tension between islamists as opposed to between is a must and liberal secular forces? if you speak to numbers of the muslim brotherhood, as i did last week, i think that their fears when they look at upcoming elections aren't so much from how -- it is from the
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right. it is from the other parties. what we're likely to see is also a rebalancing possibly of that relationship in the first election. the muslim brotherhood and their partners received about 43% of the vote, whereas the other block received about 25% of the block. he could be the case that in the upcoming elections, and they will do better.
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>> do you have any disagreement? >> thank you. i agree that the report was useful. the findings certainly ring true. since i have been at the -- asked to comment, i would say that the findings were great in the sense that they counter the conventional wisdom. there is a green wave, the brotherhood is it, they have taken over egypt, there's no going on from this. i don't think that is necessarily the case. i understand that with the report, you are trying to tell us your story. there are a lot of questions that arise. one of them, which i think is a very big one, this is a very pluralist seen in egypt. a pluralist on all parts of the
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spectrum. to just islamists versus secularist doesn't tell you the whole story. in fact, if we could put up a schematic of the political parties, already the political scene in egypt has sorted itself out to some extent. you have dozens of parties in the first election, and fewer in the next, and over several terms. now, we have at least a dozen political parties, if not more that are relevant. it is not just islamists versus secularist. you could also look at being right, center, liberal, and left. you have islamists right,
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center, and left. yet secularist right, center, and left. it tells us something about the secular versus islamist, but also the political agenda, the agenda in terms of human rights, and the economic agenda. the political spectrum is a lot more complicated i think then just islamists versus secularist. it would be great in future work if you do more work based on this to look at that sort of thing. i also think very much of that i wanted to emphasize a point that some are raised about the important role of mobilization. it is very good that you base your findings on electoral results, not on public opinion. one could be misled in reading this report in thinking it is about all people feel about the brotherhood versus secular parties or something. as we know, in electoral democracy, it is much more about what people do. especially about who shows up. that is one caution i want to raise. you of course raise the important issue of whether the
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parties that have gathered within the national salvation front will participate. that is huge. unless -- let's even say they do participate, mobilization is enormous. the question is, if sentiment is trending against the brotherhood, and i agree that it is, there are protests today. they have been happening, but in a on other parts of the country, not just in cairo. i agree with this. i think i would be interested in recent student elections, person
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there is a trend of the brotherhood losing. losing its share. not losing entirely, but losing its share in these elections. it is interesting to think about what this means for parliamentary elections. by question that parliamentary elections is that people are feeling down on the brotherhood. doesn't mean they're going to turn up and vote for somebody else? or are they just not going to turn up? i think that is something that we are going to need to look at. a couple of other questions. you raise this question of the delta. imacs are hoping summer can say a bit about this. we haven't really talked about labor. that can be an important factor in the delta, and whether that is one of the reasons. in the first round of the presidential elections, he did well.
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i ask a wish you were able to get into analyzing first-round presidential elections. it was extremely interesting, although there were some politically not represented. we get into what i was talking about, you have got right islamists, left islamists. the last issue i will raise is just, you mentioned the electoral districts. they had to be more representatives in terms of population. there are a lot of accusations of gerrymandering. an effort while morsi has been empowered to break up the districts.
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i wonder what you think about that. there is also the issue with the voter lists. these are things that are complicated technical issues, but they can have a profound impact on how parliamentary elections will come out when they take place. i have some things i would like to say about what this means for the united states. >> these are great comments and really help as we move forward with this line of research. there seems to be agreement that voting patterns are trending against the muslim brotherhood. the disagreement is what are the implications of that.
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i would not mind getting your view on how things are going in terms of the election boycott and whether that is likely to happen. or how are the national non- islamist groups looking at this trend? what are possible scenarios about how this might work out? to what extent can the u.s. influence these outcomes? should we be trying to take advantage of the vulnerabilities we are seeing on a regional basis or would that backfire? to what extent should we try to play in the electoral game, and what kind of steps? folks here thinking about different kinds of steps the u.s. could take. it is important to open up the discussion in that way.
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what are future scenarios that might be possible? we will start with jeff. >> it is hard to tell whether the national salvation front is going to participate in future elections. the national salvation front has a series of demands that are far-reaching. the secretary-general -- he is not that divisive.
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the problem is the way in which he was appointed, which most egyptians would say it not the appropriate procedure. the national salvation front has a big list of demands they would like to see the brotherhood cede to. the brotherhood has tried to show they are flexible. there has been press reporting saying that they are willing to shuffle the cabinet. they have not yet. it is tough to tell. what is also tough to tell is how cohesive the national salvation front is. i have been surprised that they have exceeded my expectations of their ability to hold together.
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